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  1. Do you wish we had real voiceover for the in-game radio broadcasts? Me too! All the interesting stuff happens in the first week while we're busy fighting for our lives, but who has time to sit down and read it? To help you out, I'm recording one of the most lore-heavy channels for you to listen to while you play. LBMW has 38 broadcasts, and I'm using a voice modulator to record them all for you myself. I've got the first few finished and I'm releasing a new one every week. Here's the first to get you started. Hope you enjoy!
  2. Chapter 8 Ross quickly and quietly made his way up the road, keeping his head on a swivel as he made his way up the corpse littered road. Once he got to an intersection, he found himself at a car accident that happened while he was inside Mollie's. He noticed the driver of one car was dead, and the driver of another was struggling to get out of her vehicle. On closer inspection, it was Hazel from the gas station. Ross sprang into action, noticing a small horde closing in on her position. And let out a short, yet fierce shout as he charged in to distract the zombies. Three of them turned to him, the other two continued closing in on Hazel. Ross brained the walker closest to him, taking a step back to gauge how much time he had before the stragglers got to Hazel. Adrenaline kicked in when Ross noticed the two walkers still advancing him got a little close for comfort and he raised his crowbar up and shoved them back, knocking one of them over. He then turned to strike at the stragglers, taking the first down with ease before the second managed to grab him. It tried to close in for a bite, but Ross was able to knock it upside the head and break free, stomping on its head once it hit the ground from the force of the blow. By this time, the other one that was prone managed to get itself back up and Ross was able to dispatch them easily, due to their significantly staggered approach. Afterward, he made his way to Hazel, who had looked at him with terror. "W-why are you covered in blood?!" She cried out in shock. "That's gonna take a while to explain, let's get ya to safety first." Ross replied before looking at the door, noticing it was mangled and unable to be opened. "The door's got me pinned. I dunno if I can move." Hazel said when she noticed he was serious about helping her. "It looks like I can still move it a little. I'm gonna give it a shot." He said, grabbing at the door, brushing off any shards of broken glass so he didn't hurt himself and pulled the door upwards with a strained grunt. To Hazel's surprise, the small bit of freedom this granted allowed her to slip her leg free, but she wasn't able to pull herself out. "I gotcha." Ross said, carefully helping Hazel out of her car before setting her down on the curb and looking at his surroundings, "We've got a base right there at the school. Wanna come with? We've got a doc who can look at your leg." He asked. "S-sure..." Hazel said with a nod, taking Ross' hand to get stood back up before they made their way around the fence. Ross supported Hazel's weight along the way and they only had to stop once for Ross to deal with a walker. However as he went to get Hazel back up, they were caught by surprise when a sprinter tried to ambush Ross from the trees. LOOK OUT!!!" Hazel shrieked, her face showing explicit terror. Ross spun to see the sprinter and quickly used the force from his turn to throw his hand up and backhand the sprinter, knocking it off balance. He then cleaved his crowbar on its head, killing it instantly. "W-what the fuck was that about?" She asked, her voice trembling from the shock. "More'll show by the time I finished explaining." Ross replied, "We're learning what we can to fight back." "Oh my God, you're fighting them??? But the news says keep away from them!" Hazel replied in terror. "The news also says they're not really dead and that this is all just a flu that'll pass." Ross said, helping Hazel up to her feet before they went across the driveway of the school to the front door. Once inside, Ross led Hazel to the Nurses office where Doctor Franklin looked at her injury and screened her for bites. He also asked his brother to round up anyone except Beth who was able bodied for a meeting. "Hey everyone. Mollie wanted me to talk with you guys about a deal with her. She's got a garden that's gonna be up and ready soon, and she's offered us a portion of the yield if we help protect her. I'll be blunt, I rounded everyone here to see if anyone would volunteer for the training and the trips. "Don't have to ask me twice." Bill said with a nod as he raised his hand. "Me neither. Mollie's done alright by me and my family." Jackson replied "I'd volunteer, but someone's gotta watch the kids." Pam said with a laugh. "We help a friend and she helps us? Sounds good." Russel said with a nod. "Alright, we'll start training first thing tomorrow. I'm gonna put all this food in the kitchen and see how everyone's doing." Ross said, making his way out, "Y'all are good now. I'll see ya in the morning." Ross stepped out with his brother to check on him first, assuming that the loss of his wife and daughter hit him pretty hard, he needed to know how he was doing. "You holding up alright?" Ross asked worriedly. "I dunno... Losing Kate and Millie's been pretty hard on Link and I." Russel said with a sigh. "I can imagine so... At least we still have Link. And each other." Ross replied. "Yeah. I'm not sure if this is the world I want Link to live in, though." Russel said as he looked to his brother. "But it's the world we have now. We have to adapt to thrive, it's always been that way." Ross said in response, "We'll do our best to protect him from this new world. Or at least prepare him for it. I hate to say it, but those are our options..." "I guess you're right. I'm scared I'm gonna outlive him, too." Ross fell silent, he had nothing to respond with. It was a genuine fear, and it bore even more weight than ever. A definitive yes would be exactly what his brother would need to hear, but it would be a dishonest answer. "We'll just have to take it a day at a time. And hope to God we're wrong on that." He replied, "I'm gonna check on the others. Take care." He added as he waved goodbye. Franklin and Beth were next on his list. he went to the classroom where they were and saw that Cindy was with them. "Hey guys, wanted to see how you were holding up." Ross said after giving the door a knock to catch their attention. "Hey Ross, we're doing alright, all things considered. My fever's gotten worse though, I don't think I'm gonna make it through the night..." Franklin said as he clutched his wife's hand tighter. Ross let out a soft sigh and leaned against the wall, "We already talked about it, we've made our peace with it. But I need you or someone that isn't Beth to do it." "Say no more, I understand. Do you have a religious preference?" Ross asked, trying to brace himself for what he'll have to do, "I'm in the middle of checking on everyone, so I'll let Cornflower and Russel know and we'll get ready." He added. "Alright, thank you Ross. I wish we could've met under better circumstances." Franklin said, "Also, no. Beth's Catholic, but I'm not religious." "Me too, and alright... I'll be back soon as I can, you guys take it easy." Ross replied before heading off "Hold on, Cornflower brought me this and wanted me to patch it up fer ya." Beth said, making her way to a bag and pulling out a leather jacket with patches seamlessly stitched into them. "It'll at least keep the rain off when you're out." Consider it my gift fer stickin' yer neck out for us." "I appreciate it, thank you." Ross said as he took the jacket and proceeded to put it in his backpack, "I'll put it to use, y'all take care." "Say bye to Ross, Cindy." Beth said to her daughter. The child looked up and waved from the tea party she was having with an assortment of toys found from the looting, "Bye Ross!" She said. Ross made his way to the recess yard where he saw Pete scratching his chin as he looked around the area. "What's on your mind?" Ross asked as he left the school and took a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and lit one, taking a deep inhale of smoke before blowing it out. "Tryina figure out where I'm gonna put the garden. Overheard your talk about the training, so I don't want it getting in the way." Ross looked around the recess yard as he pondered. The force was small, and an optimistic mind would say save the yard for more numbers, however he wasn't sure if that would be the case. Plus with the climbers, the crops would be in danger in the recess yard anyway, so they would have to be in a spot easily fortifiable or defensible. An idea soon popped into his head, "Think we can grow them on the roof?" "If we made planter boxes deep enough for them to take root, I reckon we could. But we'd also need a way up there." Pete replied. "We can work on a staircase or something in due time. Meanwhile you could probably plant them along the side of the school, by the maintenance shed." "Alright, I'll get to plantin' right away." Pete said, "See ya 'round!" "See ya. Book it to the school and give a shout if anything happens." Ross said before finishing his cigarette and making his way back in. He found Cornflower cleaning up some blood from the battle to take the school and she waved to him when she saw him, putting her CD player on pause. "Hey Ross! What's up?" She asked. "Some pretty heavy stuff, if I'm honest..." Ross said as he rubbed the back of his neck, "Franklin's getting worse. I don't mean to sound like I'm rushing you, but how's your progress on cleaning the place?" "I'm almost done, and yeah... I heard, I'm worried about his wife and daughter, it's so unfair they're going through this. "I know, believe me..." Ross said with a sigh, "Could I ask you hunt down Bill and work on a grave for Frankie?" He asked, "I need to check on everyone else, figure out training and our next big move. I can join ya if I've got time, still." "Sure thing!" Cornflower replied in her cheerful tone in the hopes to lighten the mood, "I'm almost done here. I'll get right on it." "Thank you so much, be careful out there." Ross replied before making his way off to the library where he found Link reading a book on building traps. Marble was curled in a chair next to him snoozing. "Hey Uncle Ross." Link said. "Hey kiddo, you doing alright?" Ross asked, noticing Lincoln seemed saddened. "I dunno... I miss my mom and Millie." Link replied, looking up from his book, "Are we gonna be alright?" "I wish I knew for sure..." Ross said, recoiling a little from the question, "I think our only chance is if we fight back." "What if we can't?" Lincoln then asked. "We definitely won't if we give up. Moving forward's our only shot at a chance." Ross replied after taking a moment to think. "I guess so... You said you were gonna do training, right? Can I come?" "That would be up to your dad, I don't think I'm at liberty to make that call. But I do need to check on a new intake. Keep up the reading, sport." "Will do, Thanks." Lincoln said before Ross began making his way off to the infirmary. As Ross entered, Hazel looked up to him with a smile, "Hey! Doc says I'll pull through." She said. "That's good news we can use." Ross said, "I might have to ask you to pull your weight a bit, especially once you heal up. Things are gonna be rough and we need as much cooperation as we can get." He added. "You saved my hide out there, the least I can do is help out." Hazel replied, "I checked on Franklin earlier and I'm not confident he'll last the night." Doc Franklin said. "Yeah, already spoke with him about it. Giving him some time before I follow through. You've got anything to make it quick for him?" "I've got a few tools that could work, but a sharp knife right about here oughta be enough." Franklin said as he pointed to a spot at the base of his skull. "What are you talking about?" Hazel asked worriedly. "Think you could fill her in, doc? I've got a lot to do." Ross said, rubbing the back of his neck as he timidly asked Doctor Franklin. "Of course, not a worry at all!" The doctor said kindly as he turned to Hazel to fill her in on all he knew about the situation. The choppers, the theories, and most importantly; the undead. After finishing the grave, Pam had finished making a meal using the beans and ham found earlier, even using some corn flour brought by one of the others to make a side of cornbread for everyone. Everyone sat down to eat; Franklin included, and the meal served to lift everyone's spirits. Although a simple meal, it was filling and flavorful. Many found the buttery, crumbly cornbread to be the best part of the meal. Then came the hard part. Ross made his way to the room designated for quarantine where Franklin laid with his family and friends. With a heavy heart and knife in hand he stepped in and greeted his friend with a smile, "Hey guys." He said, trying to ease some of the tense atmosphere. "Hey Ross." Franklin replied, his lip quivering a little in fear and sadness as he knew why Ross was coming in this time, "I'm ready, just lemme say goodbye." Ross nodded and leaned against the wall. Franklin then turned to Beth, reaching out to give her a hug. Beth quickly dove into his arms and the two held each other in a tearful embrace. "Daddy, don't go!" Cindy whimpered as she raced over to clutch onto her father. "I'm sorry angel, I wish I could stay. But remember, we talked about this. It's to protect everyone." Franklin replied, pulling her away to gently wipe her tears. "Okay..." Cindy cried before clutching onto her mother who took her out of the room. Ross made his way over to Franklin who rolled onto his side and closed his eyes. "You're a brave man, Franklin." Ross said, placing his hand gently on Franklin's head,"goodbye..." He added before driving the knife through his skull. Franklin gave a quick jolt and struggled to exhale before going limp where he laid. They would bury him later that night, along with Rose. Everyone gathered around the graves to mourn the friends they barely had. After a moment, Cornflower broke the silence. "To think this happened in just days..." She said with a sniffle, "Will we ever go back to normal?" "I don't think so. This might be our new reality." Russel replied, "Kate and Millie, Frankie, Rose... And to think this is only the beginning. " He added before turning to Ross, "Do you think we can actually do this?" "We won't know for sure unless we try." Ross said, "We fight, or we die. Their fight is over... We have to carry on for them." Next time An assortment of medical supplies, tools, and even weapons are believed to be left behind at the fire department. Mollie's will be used as a staging area for the operation. Ross instructs the others on what he's learned of the zombies. Being the most experienced, he volunteers to be the zombie as he teaches his friends how to easily dispatch their new threat. A horde stands in the Fire yard, shambling around in search of food. The survivors stand ready to clear them out. Another group of survivors was looking to take the fire department as well, opting to take advantage of the fact Ross and friends already cleared it out. Violence ensues. Police stand firm with weapons drawn on Ross and friends, demanding that they drop their weapons and come quietly.
  3. Chapter 6 Ross led Beth and Cindy through the streets while he carried his copious load. His legs felt they were on fire and his back began to feel sore, but he tried to keep it in his mind as an abstract for the moment. Not long after passing the area he killed the climber, he caught sight of five more walkers in the corner of his eye. Approaching the site. He backed behind the fence, holding his arm out to stop Beth and Cindy from approaching. "Got a bunch. Hold up." Ross said, looking around the area. He saw a small rock sitting beside the road and looked around, throwing it at the corner of a nearby house and falling back behind the fence further to keep hidden. The rock hurled in the air and hit the house with a clunk, and the group of walkers began to walk in the direction of the sound. After which, he turned to Beth. "You'll have to pick Cindy up and carry her. We gotta pass before they reach the other side of the house." Ross said. Beth looked over to Cindy as she took her daughters hand, nodding and scooping the child up with her free hand, and they began to quickly move across the street. They turned the corner and ducked behind some foliage once they cleared the fence to the recess yard and Beth kept Cindy held tight, "Are we almost there?" Beth asked as her daughter began to start fussing a little. "Yeah." Ross said, making his way to the wall and poking his head around the corner, "Looks clear from here. Let's get to the door." He added. Beth took a few breaths and stood back up, making her way behind Ross as they went to the door to the school. Once inside, her and Cindy immediately made their way to the nurse's office where they were told Franklin was. John was helping Franklin with his intense fever, as well as changing the bloodied bandages on the location of the bite. Beth looked in terror as the realization hit her; this was real. Her husband was in terrible shape and it didn't look like he would pull through. Tears welled in her eyes as she hugged her ill husband, trying desperately not to weep for Cindy's sake. "I can't express how grateful I am that you brought them here, Ross... Seriously, thank you." Franklin said, his voice seeming more calm than it was before. "Don't mention it man. It was just the right thing to do." Ross said, shaking his head as he leaned against the doorframe, "I'm gonna look for other survivors. See if I can't get 'em to rally with us." He added. "I managed to snag a map from the house before we left." John said before making his way to his bags, "Give me a moment and I'll get where our friends live." "Alright, I'll need some time to pack up. Can I take some bandages and disinfectant with me? Maybe a thing of painkillers just in case." "Of course, I'll have it ready for ya while I work on the map." John said with a nod. Ross turned back into the break room to grab some sandwiches, a couple pieces of fruit from the fridge, and a Hi-Hi snack cake from the pantry to take with him, placing it all in a lunchbox which he put in his backpack. He topped off water from the fountain just outside the doctors office and returned. "Here's your map 'n meds." John said as he handed everything over to Ross, "Be very careful when you head out. People are scared, and they might not be as trustworthy as they used to be." He added in warning. "Thanks for the heads up, doc. Wish me luck." Ross said as he made his way out. He took a look at his map, and then instead of turning right; he went left toward the string of houses across the street. "Welp. Off into bat country, then." Ross said. He pulled his crowbar out of his strapping and took a deep breath to steel his nerves before wandering down the road. The closest house was one marked "Pete's" and Ross made his way into the yard, cautiously scanning his surroundings as he approached the door, giving a knock. An older man answered the door. "Can I help ya?" He asked. "I'm a friend of John's, shits hitting the fan and he wanted me to come bring you to our camp at the school." Ross explained. "Well, if John thinks it's a good idea, I'll be on my way." The man named Pete said. "Pack anything you can take, and bring a weapon for protection. We're anticipating a long haul kinda deal." "In that case I'll gather my gardenin' tools." Pete said, "Got plenty o' seeds too." "Alright, you need an escort?" "I think I can handle myself on the way there." Pete said, shaking his head. "Alright. I'll see you there. I've gotta round up others." Ross said before turning to leave. After giving his map another look, a man by the name of Martin was next. Ross crossed the street and headed along the road. As Ross passed the first house, he noticed a walker off to the right. It had noticed him and began making its way over slowly with a snarl. Ross kept low, making sure it was the only one and waited for it to approach. Once it was in range, a strike with his crowbar sent it reeling to the floor, and a follow-up strike finished it off. After the encounter, Ross walked up to the door and knocked. "Hello? Martin? I'm a friend of Pete's! He sent me to check on you, see if you wanted to join our camp?" Ross said. There was no response. Ross tried the door to find it was locked, and looked around the yard. After seeing no windows on the front of the house, Ross decided to try the sides, making his way to his right. After turning the corner, he saw a window leading into the kitchen and took a look at the latch to see it was open. Ross put his hands on the top and began to push upwards, inching the window to a point he could easily get his fingers in the bottom and began to open the window the rest of the way so he could wriggle his way through. He had to climb over the kitchen sink and counter, being careful to not put any weight on the faucet to avoid breaking it. His feet hit the ground and he looked around the room cautiously. The room was clean, and he looked across the kitchen and living room to see two doors on the opposite wall. He slowly drew closer, seeing a third door appearing from behind the wall on his right. After making his way into the living room, he looked right, seeing another door on the wall behind him in the furthest corner of the room. "Martin?" Ross called out, slowly making his way through to check the rooms. He started with the door furthest to the left. Once it opened, he looked inside to see a supply closet with tools still in the shelf, and looked to the two doors to his right, making his way into the next one up. The door came open, and Ross heard something shuffling in the corner. He readied his crowbar, just in case. "I'm a friend, are you alright?" Ross asked, slowly creeping into the room and propping the door all the way open in case he needed to back out into the light. "What the fuck do ya want???" A voice called out from the corner, "I wanna be left ALONE!" "Sorry man, John sent me out to find his friends to bring back to the school." Ross explained, "I'm not gonna force ya to come if you don't want to." He added, lowering his weapon and relaxing a bit. "You got supplies?" Martin asked. "Yeah. Found some food and medicine, even brought a bit of our own when we holed up." Ross replied in explanation, "Once I make sure our friends are safe, I'm gonna start figuring out our beds and more supplies." There was a moment of silence before Martin spoke again, "You got any supplies on you?" He asked. Ross seemed a little unsettled by the question for reasons unknown to him, but he decided to give a benefit of a doubt. "Yeah, I've got some on me, I think I can spare a lit-" He said before he was interrupted by the sound of a gun chambering a round. "Give it to me. All of it." Martin said. Ross's eyes widened as he fought the urge to lunge at Martin. With a defeated sigh, he took his school bag off and began to hand it over with his right hand. "Your weapon too." Martin said. "How am I gonna protect myself against the walkers?" "That's a you problem." Martin said, just as he was bracing to pull the trigger, he was caught off guard by the sound of his bedroom window opening. He turned around, his expression showing deep shock as a walker climbed into the window. He took aim and pulled the trigger, blowing its head off. He turned back to try to shoot Ross, only to take the crowbar to the temple, knocking him to the floor. "I meant no harm to you, asshole. I was tryina help, and you tried to rob and kill me." Ross said, kicking the shotgun away from Martin's hand and planting his foot on Martin's chest, pinning him to the floor, "You reap what you sew." He added before raising his crowbar to deal a finishing blow before his ear caught the snarls of incoming walkers. He lowered his crowbar and looked out the window, looking back to Martin and digging the straight edge into Martin's leg, giving an aggressive twist. Martin cried out in agony as the crowbar twisted, and he tried to grab Ross before getting a firm punch to the nose. "Sounds like your gun called more. I'm leaving, have fun cleaning up your mess." He said before walking out and locking the door, slamming it behind him before quickly racing his way outside to find a safe spot to hide for a moment. Ross got out the front door and looked around the side of the house through the back yard. He saw the fenceline to the school and ducked down, creeping his way in a crouched jog to get his back to safety and creep along to the fence's edge near the street. Seeing no walkers in the immediate area, he looked into his map to see Bill's house was the next closest spot. He returned his map back to his bag and made his way across the street. Chapter 7 Once he was against the wall, he looked back to notice the walker that was chasing him earlier had lost interest and began following the others to the sound of the gunshot earlier. There looked to be at least twenty there now, banging their heads and hands on the windows, desperately trying to break in. Ross then made his way over to the front door and knocked a few times. Bill answered and looked over at the mob, his eyes widened. "Mind if I come in a sec? I'll explain everything." Ross asked, flicking . Bill turned back and nodded, stepping aside to let Ross in before shutting the door behind them. Once inside, Ross began to explain everything he's learned. "Sorry about the noise. Someone tried to rob me." Ross said, "Had to bug out before the walkers came around. Probably heard the shot for miles." "No need ta worry." Bill said, "Ya were robbed? You alright?" He asked. "Eh, you should see the other guy." Ross said, "Walker went through the window and scared him, gave me a chance to get the drop on him." "So you call them biters walkers?" Bill said, scratching his chin with a puzzled expression. "Yeah, walking corpses. I take it you call 'em that..." Ross started,"cause they bite." Bill stated finishing the sentence for Ross. "Yup." Bill added. "Makes sense. Anyway, I wrote everything I know about em, you wanna take a read while I help ya pack?" "Naw, I'm dyslexic." Bill replied, "Only know how to say that right cause ma taught me." "Oh, in that case I'll fill you in word of mouth, then." Ross answered, following Bill to his bedroom where Bill grabbed a duffel bag, tipping it upside down and shaking the contents, sifting through for anything he or Ross could use. There was an empty lunchbox, a first aid kit, some clothing, and a notebook with doodles, a pencil, and some pens. Ross helped organize everything to a more neat setup, even teaching Bill how to properly roll his clothing for easier storage. "So there are walkers, Sprinters, and apparently climbers. Also with a few crawlers in the mix." Ross explained, "I've taken to calling them those because they seem to act differently. You know all those zombie movies?" Ross asked. "Not really, no." Bill replied as he shook his head. "So 'zombie' is the encompassing term for the living dead here. The names are just to tell 'em apart by how they behave." Ross elaborated, "You'll notice a lot of them say zombie in them, and while they behave the same in that world, another movies zombies behave completely differently. That isn't the case here. Some run, one climbed, but most walk, and those unable to walk, crawl... Though one seemed it actively made a choice to do so rather than waste time to get up." "I'm comin' with ya. Sounds like you can use the backup." Bill said, "I insist." "Alright, Mollie's is my last stop. You have a w-" Ross asked before Bill pulled a large sledgehammer out from beneath his bed, "Nevermind." Bill let out a hearty chuckle, "I work construction, have this when I wanna do somethin' on the house." He explained, patting the head a couple of times, "Guess it's gon' be smashin' biters now." "Try to aim for the head. But honestly, I think you can keep 'em down regardless where ya hit 'em." Ross said, "I'll take point, you watch my back." Bill simply replied with a quiet nod. Once the two had finished packing, they set off, cutting across Bill's yard to get to the road and pass a nearby fence. Upon making it to the street, Bill's eyes widened as he pointed to a number of corpses shambling their way. One took off in a dead sprint upon catching Bill's scent on the wind, charging directly at him. Panicked, Bill raised his fist and hurled it as hard as he could into the nose of the sprinter, the force of the blow knocking it flat down. Following the punch, Bill used his momentum to carry his stance through and raise his boot above the sprinter's head before coming down with all his might. The head crunched underneath, and Bill shuddered visibly, reeling back in shock as to what he had just done. "Great job, don't let up!" Ross said, jogging in the direction of the small mob of three to flank on the right. One of the walkers was still shambling to Bill, while the other two were distracted by Ross, who cleaved one in the knee with his crowbar. It fell to the ground with a loud snap, snarling louder as it began to frantically crawl to Ross. He took a few steps back before looking around to check the distance of the other, as well as spotting four across the street stumbling through the brush. "Stay frosty, got more inbound!" He said as he stomped the skull of the walker he downed, cleaving his crowbar conveniently enough into the softer part of the walker's skull. The foe slumped lifelessly to the ground with a thud, allowing Ross to change his focus on the new threat. One of the zombies stumbled over a bush, knocking itself onto the floor and staggering to its feet. As the other three came clear of the foliage, one took off at a dead sprint at Ross who readied a stance confidently. The zombie staggering to its feet took off in a sprint behind the first, stacking up on Ross quickly. He managed to strike the first one in the neck, incapacitating the rest of its body, and raised his crowbar to block the second incoming walker. All this happened in the time it took for Bill to process what had happened earlier, and as he ran to assist Ross, he noticed another sprinter barrel up and hop a nearby fence, using it's momentum to carry itself over toward Ross. He opted to go after that one instead. He raised his sledgehammer and charged, shoulder checking the sprinter just as Ross managed to push the other off of himself and cave its skull in with a well placed smash. Bill missed his strike, and the sprinter tried to grab and pull itself up his weapon, causing the large man to yelp in surprise. Ross pierced the skull with the straight edge of his crowbar, and let the dead zombie fall lifelessly to the ground. "You good, big guy?" Ross asked, turning to check his friend for any injuries. "I'm good, a lil shaken up, is all." Bill replied. "We should keep moving, not long before more show up." Ross said cautiously as he looked around before peering in the distance to spot a number of walkers up the road. Afterward, his attention drew to the house nearby where the final walker that Bill dealt with came from, "Let's see if we can hole up here and get our bearings." He said. With a nod, Bill followed and the two scanned their surroundings as they crept low, taking advantage of their window in the chaos to move slowly and undetected. They drew near the house and Bill knocked. "Woah, shit!" Ross whispered sharply in surprise. His stance spun to face Bill who was previously behind him and took a deep breath to calm his nerves, "We don't know if they're hostile!" "It's alright boss, I know this 'un." Bill said. The reassurance seemed to make Ross calm down a little, however he still seemed a little uneasy. "This already changed people into what we wouldn't think them to be. Are you sure?" He asked. "Yeah. He's a close friend from work. Known 'im fer years." Bill replied, "Been through a lot, he an' I." Shortly after, an African American man with a shaved head and short beard answered the door, "Bill? Man, I didn't think you were alive! Get yo asses in here." He said, giving Bill a high-five and a brotherly hug before beckoning Ross and Bill inside. "Ross, meet Jack, Jack, this is Ross." Bill introduced. The two shook hands and Jack pointed to the end table where the visitors could place their bags and tools. "Need anythin' to eat?" Jack asked. "Nah, we've actually got some. Thank you though." Ross said, "I won't lie, after seeing the sprinter out there, I wasn't sure anyone would be alive. "He gave us a little trouble, but thankfully my son Damian took metalworking. It was his idea to put up the corrugated steel from the shed." Jack said . "Sounds like a brilliant kid." Ross said, "But isn't the noise just gonna draw more?" As he held conversation, he got a grilled cheese sandwich and a burrito he found among the food and began to eat. "It can, but it holds a lot better than wood. Learned that the hard way." And the noise ain't a bother so long as you keep on top of em." "Are you guys looking for a safe place? We've got a camp at the school. Got supplies and defenses." Ross asked after swallowing his bite, taking a swig of water to help wash it down. "We'll do alright on our own, don't wanna be a burden." Jack said. "You sure? Would be nice havin' ya 'round." Bill said, "You wouldn't be a burden, promise." "Hey, HEY! GET YO ASS OVER TO THE TABLE TO EAT!" A woman's voice called out sharply, though not quite yelling as to avoid drawing more zombies. "Sorry! Sorry, I should have asked first, sorry!" Ross yelped almost timidly at the sudden outburst, quickly taking his food and making his way to the table. Jack began to chuckle at the sudden outburst and Ross' knee jerk reaction before his wife approached him. "Why didn't you stop him? You know I don't want crumbs an' shit all over my furniture!" "Sorry, I didn't think it'd be a problem with it being the end of the world." Jack replied. "Still gotta worry about bugs, gotta deal with rats! Whatchu gon' do if they come in and eat all our food cause we had a cookie trail?" "I... I'd say that's actually a damn good point." Ross chimed in, surprised by the forethought. "I heard y'all talkin' about goin' to the school. You got the stuff to take us in?" The woman asked. "Yeah, we had some stuff from the school and our own homes, we could pool." Ross said softly. "How safe is it?" She asked. "My brother fortified it while I stood guard. It's clearer than up west. Still wanna keep your heads on a swivel til ya get there." Ross said, "Get anything you can use as a weapon. And the zombies seem to beeline to noise. So don't use any guns if you have any. Not unless you have to." "I've got the heat in a safe in the bedroom. Ain't much, but we'll bring it with us. Could come in handy." Jack said, "Pam, could you get the boys ready? I'ma get our things packed and get the axe." "Yeah, I'll do that now." Pam said with a nod before making her way back off to the bedroom. "Alright, I'll see you guys at the school. I've got one more stop and then I'll head back." Ross said, looking over to Bill,"You got this, big guy." He said after noticing his friends nervous expression. He had long since finished eating by this point and made his way to get his crowbar and supplies. Afterward heading out the door and to Mollie's. Having remembered her as the host to the potluck, he was particularly worried about her and her family. Ross' feet hit the ground after hopping back over the fence and his eyes looked around cautiously. He took a breath to steel his nerves and continued along the yard. The sound of a pair of engines roared, and a Chevalier cerise Flips onto its side in an attempt to swerve out of the way of an oncoming D6, which ends up plowing into it anyway. The driver of the pickup was dead at the wheel, blood running down his neck. Ross recoiled a bit as a result of the impact. He wanted desperately to leap in and help the person in the Cerise, but upon seeing a group of incoming sprinters hellbent in finding the source of the crash made him reconsider. "Fuck, I'm so sorry..." He whimpered helplessly as he turned tail and ran toward the back of the house. There was a zombie hunched over a corpse, voraciously having at the innards strewn about the yard. Without a thought, Ross put it down with his crowbar and looked at the person who was being devoured. It was a woman, not much older than 21. It looked like she was in the midst of a date night and got bitten before running off. She hadn't turned yet, and Ross contemplated putting her out of her misery or timing her. He went with the latter, pulling his watch up to his eye and ticking the amount of time that passed until she began to reanimate. After giving out a soft, raspy breath, the woman began to try to stand to her feet, only to have her head smashed in by Ross' crowbar. He then kept an eye on his surroundings while he took out his notebook to jot down that he's noticed a trend of reanimation anywhere from 15-30 seconds to take place. After making note, he turned and made his way to the back door and gave his usual knock in the hopes that Mollie would recognize him as friendly. And more so that she won't be hostile. The older lady answered the door and smiled when she noticed her friend. "Ross! Come in and get washed up, you're covered in blood!" Mollie said as she stepped aside, beckoning Ross to enter. Ross came inside and looked around before looking to Mollie. "The boys okay? John sent me to see if you guys wanted to come with us to the school. "Yes, they're fine. They're just coloring over there." Mollie replied as she nodded to the corner where her grandsons colored the pages in their books, waving to Ross, "As for your offer, we planted the garden this year and we're getting ready for a harvest. We'll need the food more than ever now, but if y'all can provide protection, we can provide food." Ross scratched his chin for a moment as he pondered. In regards to personnel, there was himself, Russel, Bill, Jackson who would be willing, with Beth, and Pam filling the rest of the able bodied category. He didn't want to make Cindy an orphan, so Beth was out of the question. He would have to leave it up to Jackson and Pam on who would do so between them. "I'll have to have a chat, but I've got about four or five people I can try to train up and send out, including myself. But if things get too hot or the plants don't make it, we'll have plans to fall back. Otherwise we'll have ya come in for the winter." Ross said after reaching his conclusion. "I'd say that sounds fair. Let me give you some things for the road, you came all this way." Mollie said in reply, making her way to the kitchen to pack some dried lentils and beans, some ham and onions to wrap up. And while Mollie was in the kitchen, Ross took the moment to get the blood and matter washed off of him. He then met Mollie back out in the living room where she gave him the ingredients. "Stay safe out there, y'hear?" She said with a motherly tone as she gave Ross a hug. "You too. You want any help boarding up?" Ross asked. "Nah, the boys helped me with that earlier. An' I got the shotgun in case one comes in." "Be careful about that... The zeds seem drawn to noise." Ross warned, "Blunt weapons seem to work quite well." "I got a hammer, I'll use that." Mollie replied with a nod, "I'm guessing y'all got kids at the school?" "Yeah, Link, Cindy, Damian and Michael." Ross said with a nod. "Millie isn't with you?" Ross fell silent and looked down, an expression of sadness and guilt tore across his face, "She turned... She wasn't bitten and she turned..." He said, "I had to put her and Kate down." "You poor thing..." Mollie said as she gave Ross another hug, "I'm sure you did what you had to do, don't beat yourself up." "Alright... In any case, I kept ya long enough, I gotta head back to the school." Ross said. "Don't be a stranger!" Mollie said as Ross left, closing the door behind him before making his way back to the camp.
  4. Chapter 2 In a dark, deathly quiet corner of a bedroom of a house somewhere in Muldraugh, the silhouette of what appears to be a man clutching his wife in mourning. The moonlight beaming through the boards in the window reveal the woman's leg to be broken, mangled even. It was wrapped in a hastily applied splint and bandages. However, something seemed terribly off. Instead of the scene being filled with either the sobs of anguish or a speech; it was filled with the sound of flesh rending, tearing and the sound of soft snarls and growls. Intermittent chewing echoed in the room between tears. It's storming heavily outside for the first time since this started, and a flash of lightning pierces the umbral sky, and light breaks into the room; Revealing a man with a Bald spot in the back of his head devouring the still bleeding, twitching corpse of his wife. There was a broken bottle of wine and lamp nearby, which signals there may have been a struggle. Shortly after Ross managed to come to his senses, police sirens were heard in the distance, and a man stepped out to begin heading to the door. "They're right this way." Kate said, instructing the officer to the door. He stepped in and gave a rather warm smile. "Hey, I'm Officer Anderson." He said, "I was told there was a situation?" "Yeah, this guy, he-he came up. Thought he was having a hangover so I asked if he had a good time last night and offered him some lemonade. Though admittedly, I poked a little fun at the situation." Russel said as he began to explain. "You made fun of him?" Officer Anderson asked. "More the fact he seemed like he had a helluva night." Ross replied "What happened afterward?" The officer then asked. "He just kept coming, and something about it didn't sit well with me. He didn't say anything, didn't listen when I told him to stay back..." He said, then began staring off, "I held him back and he kept moving his head like he was tryina bite me. So I put a punch right to his jaw, broke it and knocked him down. But he just got back up and tried again. After a gut punch, I realized that he didn't care and pushed him away for something that *would* stop him." "Hold on, you say you broke his JAW and he was still biting?" "He was still biting, yeah..." Ross said with a nod, "I kicked him off and rushed for the first thing I could find, which was a hammer in that toolbox, but he grabbed me from behind. We... We tumbled over the couch and he kept tryina bite. I overpowered him and... And I hit him..." I said, "Three times... Didn't flinch the first two, but stopped moving completely by the third." "Did he have any identification?" "Yeah, checked his wallet, it's next to him." Ross said, pointing to Jack's ID, "Name was Jack Smith... Had his social security card on him too." "Alright, we'll get some guys in to clean up and look further into this. Was anyone else present?" Officer Anderson asked. "Just the kids, Link saw part of the struggle, but I had him go in and keep his sister calm. Afterward, had 'em barricade the door." Ross replied, "Kate came up after the fact and left to get you guys cause I was still in shock." "Alright, mind if I asked them about it?" Anderson asked. "That's up to their parents." Ross replied. "I don't mind." Kate said, shaking her head, "I don't either." Her husband added. After the affirmations, Officer Anderson made his way in to question the kids about the situation. After determining that it was indeed, self-defense, the officer called up some people to clean the scene and log further evidence before they left. July 7, 1993 The next Day, Millie began to develop one hell of a fever. She barely had the strength to move, and when she did it hurt. John was called over to check on her. He gave her some aspirin to help break the fever along with a variety of cold packs on areas that generated a lot of warmth. "This has been becoming a lot more common." John said. "How bad is it?" Kate asked, worried about the wellbeing of her daughter. "It seems to be a terrible flu, so make sure she gets plenty of rest, keep her cool and fed. Her body's gotta do the rest." "Mommy, granny came to visit!" Millie said, looking at a vacant seat in the corner. Kate's eyes widened as she began to tear up, falling into Russel's arms. John seemed more puzzled than anything, looking over to the vacant chair. "Um... Doc?" Russel said, placing his hand on John's shoulder, "Kate's mom passed away a few years ago, and mine hasn't been around since I was a kid." He whispered. "I fear her fever is making her delusional." John said, "For now, I'll give her a little something to help her sleep." He added, reaching into his bag to get a bottle of sleep aid in which he gave Millie a dose, "Go ahead and get some rest. I'll be back tomorrow to check up on ya." He added, packing his things and making his way off. "What do you say, sweetie?" Kate asked as she knelt next to Millie. "Thank you, Doctor Franklin." Millie said softly. The doctor gave a warm smile before making his way off. Alas, Millie's health tanked later that evening. Her breathing became intense and when she coughed, she began coughing up blood. Her mother sprinted off to get John and bring him back while Russel and Ross sat with Millie. Lincoln was in the living room, worried out of his mind. "I came as soon as I could, lemme take a look." John said as he entered and approached Millie. He took his stethoscope out and began listening to her heart, which was racing. Her breathing was raspy, and she seemed a little distended. "Alright, we'll have to get her up to the clinic. She's suffering from internal bleeding." "Oh my God..." Kate whimpered as she sank against the door to a fetal curl. "She's... She's not breathing." Ross said. Kate froze, John rushed back over to begin performing CPR in a desperate effort to resuscitate the girl. Minutes passed with no success, and Millie was declared dead. But then slowly, she let out a soft gasp for air, and Kate came rushing over. "My baby! She's okay!" She cried out as she reached to embrace Millie who then sat up and bit her mother on the shoulder. Kate cried out in agony as Ross and Russel struggled to break her free from Millie's surprisingly strong grasp. Kate and Russel hit the ground with a thud after being ripped away, and Ross held Millie down to the best of his abilities. "STOP MANHANDLING HER!!!" Kate cried out. "SHE'S STILL BITING, WHAT DO I DO???" Ross asked, "THIS IS JUST LIKE THAT GUY!!!" Kate buried her face into Russel's shoulder and began to weep. "I-I've never seen anything like this..." John testified, "Hold her down, I'll give her a sedative." He added, sticking the needle in Millie's arm, trying to hold it still as he injected the liquid in the syringe. He looked on in shock and horror as it did absolutely nothing, "She's as cold as the grave." He said, befuddled. "DON'T HURT HER!!!" Kate yelled out, noticing Ross throwing Millie back down after she managed to pull up his hoodie sleeve for leverage. "DOC? I DONT THINK THIS IS MILLIE ANYMORE!" Ross hollered over the commotion. "LET ME SEE HER!!!" Kate called out, shoving her brother-in-law off of Millie and tried to hold her again. Only to cry out as she was bitten in the neck, blood spraying across the room. "KATE!!!!!" Ross cried out as his wife's lifeless body hit the floor. Ross knew what he had to do at this point, and tears welled in his eyes as the realization hit him. "Russel... I'm sorry." He said, taking his knife out and plunging into Millie's back as she feasted on her mother's corpse. But there was no reaction save for Millie standing up and making her way to Ross. Luckily, he had sense enough to pull the knife out, half expecting Millie to slump over dead. However, she simply stood and turned. He looked in shock and horror as Millie approached, even with a knife wound to the heart. He snapped himself out of it before planting a hand on the top of her head before shoving the knife into the soft part of her jaw and into her brain. She ceased moving after that and fell to the floor. The whole room in shock as to what they had just witnessed. Ross was reading through his journal, having updated about how Millie and Kate's behavior were just like that first man he killed. He had written Millie's symptoms as best he knew, and details explaining that both her and Kate seemingly came back to life before attempting to eat those who were still alive. These disturbing correlations didn't strike him as coincidental. "First a guy comes by tryina eat Ross, then Millie dies and comes back, eats Kate, Kate tries to eat me..." Russel droned on as he paced back and forth nervously. He supported his weight against a nearby wall and collapsed to his knees, crying as the scene played through time and time again in his head, "Then the news is acting like nothing is going on! We're dying here and they're acting like it's business as usual!" "We'll have to take matters into our own hands then." Ross said, looking to his brother. "H-How?" Russel asked. "First, we need to board up. We can figure out our next move while we work." Ross replied, making his way to the tool closet, "If we can take it apart and put it on a wall, do it." Ross said as he began handing tools to his brother before getting to work himself. "I'd help, but I don't think my ticker can take much more. Today was... Too much." John said, gently patting his chest where his heart was. "No, you take it easy. If something goes south, you're our doctor. Russ and I have it handled." Ross said. Shortly after, Lincoln came out, wiping his eyes after finally managing to compose himself. "You guys want help?" He asked, noticing Russ and Ross boarding the windows and doors. "Yeah actually. Can you hammer this in for me?" Russel asked, holding a piece of his bookshelf over a window. Lincoln came over and began helping. "So first things first, we'll need to make sure our supplies are in order." Ross said, "Food, water, things like that. We need to make sure we can weather this, at least til we know our next plan." "I'll go to the store once we're done." Russel said. "If you do, be REALLY careful. If it's this bad across town, it'll be a bigger bloodbath than Black Friday." Ross warned. "I'll bring something with me for protection." Russel said, "You have to go for the head, right?" Ross looked over, puzzled as to what he meant. "You said they didn't feel any punches you threw, and Millie didn't flinch when you put the knife in her... But the headshot stopped them in their tracks." Ross thought for a moment and his eyes widened, realizing the pattern in which they died, "Y-yeah... Go for the head. But if you can, try to avoid it altogether. We don't need you being a hero and orphaning Link." Shortly after, the screams of a voice familiar to Russel was heard outside. His eyes widened as he looked out the window to see Franklin cornered by a man who had just bitten him. "STAY BACK!!!!" He cried out, "SOMEBODY HELP MEEE!!!" Russel was the first to action, grabbing the hammer he had and heading out the door with an urgent pace. Ross knew what his brother was trying to do, and knew he couldn't stop Russel. So he decided to go along, pulling his knife in and studying the staggering man closely. "Russ, I've got hand to hand training, I'll distract him - You take the time to get Frankie inside!" Ross said, whistling out as he drew closer to the walker slowly. It continued to follow Franklin, slowly shuffling toward him. It kind of angered Ross that it didn't think to look, and tried again before resorting to plan B. "Hey DIPSHIT!" Ross then shouted. The man looked up, huffing as he made his way slowly to Ross. "That's right, come to papa." Ross said, shuffling back to give Russel as much distance as possible before taking the shot. He reached out and grabbed the man by the throat, stabbing him in his temple and pulling the knife out with some struggle. "Damn knife caught on the bone... Fuck." Ross said with a sigh. "At least ya didn't break it." Russel said with a chuckle, helping Franklin up and putting his arm over his shoulder, "C'mon. We're gonna take good care of ya bud." They rushed Franklin inside and sat him on the floor next to one of the bookshelves. John went over and began trending to Franklin's bite and various other injuries. John checked on Franklin throughout the night, staying with him in the living room. The next morning, Franklin had come to develop a fever. John did his best to help manage it, giving him some ibuprofen to help with the fever. It wasn't bad as Millie's yet. So he silently hoped for Franklin to pull through. However the infection that was starting to show in his arm made his mind dwell on otherwise. He gave some antibiotics, hoping that would do the trick. July 8, 1993 "Know anything about the guy who attacked you last night?" Ross asked, having managed to get the first good night's rest since this all started. "N-No, I was making my way up to the store and he started approaching me. He fell over and bit my leg. I managed to kick him off and limp as far as you guys before my legs gave out." Franklin explained, trying to remember the rapid events from the day prior. "We think it's related to this flu that's going around." Ross stated, "Don't really know much other than that..." "You know more than me, then..." Franklin said, sitting up a little to get a better view of Ross, "Am I gonna turn into that thing?" "No, I don't think so. We just gotta make sure that infection goes away and you should be back on your feet." "Thank God..." Franklin said, "I think I caught it though... Fever, aches..." "Just make sure you keep resting, we'll figure something out." Ross said, reassuring his brothers friend. Russel came in from his shift of guard duty and sat down on the couch. "I've been thinking... The school isn't far from here. Looks like it was abandoned on the wake of this." Russel said. "You think it'd be a good safehouse?" Ross asked. Russel replied with a snap of his fingers followed by a grin, "Read my mind." He said before going deeper into thought. "Definitely needs some boarding up, but plenty of space to put things like beds, medical equipment and the like. If the layout's good, could be pretty defensible too. If our other friends survived this, we could probably make something of a home there together." "That... Actually makes a lot of sense. Alright then, I'll get set up and check it out." Ross said, making his way to the toolbox to get a hammer and then to the kitchen to fill a bottle of water. "Here. So you can take anything useful while you're there." Lincoln said, handing Ross his and Millie's backpacks, "I have the feeling they're not gonna be helpful for school a while." "Lincoln, you're a damn genius." Ross said, taking the backpacks and emptying the contents, taking his notebook, some pens, a pencil, and an eraser. "What're the pens for?" Russel asked, noticing the pens returning to the pack. "In case I learn something to pass around or I need to make a map." Ross said, pocketing the pens and putting Millie's backpack in Lincoln's much bigger one along with the bottle of water and a few snacks in case he got hungry in the road. "If I run into any complications, I'll fall back here and try to devise a plan. Sign countersign is 5." Ross said as he packed his supplies. "What's sign countersign?" Franklin asked. "Long story short, we use it to tell whose friendly in a hotzone." Ross explained, "Think of it like reverse math. You're given the answer, you have to make the solution. I give three knocks, someone trying get inside gives two. And you do *NOT* tell this to anyone. Not unless I say so, okay?" Franklin thought for a moment as his mind went over what Ross said, "Okay." He said with a nod. He dipped low to cushion his footsteps, cautiously keeping his head on a swivel as he crept down the street. He heard some snarling in the distance and dipped behind a car, crawling underneath to take advantage of the safety and identify where the sound was coming from. He saw the feet of a staggering woman shambling off in the direction of the neighbouring house before peering into the window. Ross studied quietly, shallowing his breath to minimize his noise footprint. For some reason, watching this dead looking woman undisturbed fascinated him. However it didn't stay that way for long. She turned her head to the door and slowly began shuffling to it before trying the doorknob to find it was locked. Ross' eyed widened and he felt a deep fear clutching his chest. Especially as she grew frustrated and began trying to bang on the door. Ross decided to take advantage of the sound and crawl back out from under the car after checking to see that the coast was clear. Ross made his way to the end of the schoolyard fence, peering through the brush and trees to see a pair of people hunched over, the sound of them gnawing on flesh of a fresh kill littered the air. Ross' terror only worsened as he noticed a number more shambling over to join the feast. His stomach began to churn and he vomited on the spot. The living corpses turned to see Ross doubled over, desperately trying to get himself to stop. He blew some of the filth from his nose and wiped himself clean. It was only after he had managed to compose himself that he noticed about four dead ones approaching him. "Oh shit." He gasped, looking around for any sort of advantage he could press. He began backing away, noticing they seemed to favor trying to directly charge him as opposed to fanning out. He tripped over himself, falling on his back and only just managing to catch himself before he hit his head. He looked up to see a fence and rolled over, starting in a bear crawl until he was able to get back to his feet before leaping on to catch the top, pulling himself over. Chapter 3 Ross hit the ground and tumbled, still on the ground for a moment as he tried to catch his breath, the vomit still caught in his sinuses causing him a deal of trouble in that regard. He blew his nose clean again and looked back to notice his pursuers were still hot on his trail, now coming around the corner as if trying to form a line. Ross looked behind him to notice he had some way to move before he was completely cornered, and decided to take his chances with the line. He stood up and readied a stance, giving a mighty cleave to one of the corpses. It jolted as the hammer plunged into its skull and it fell to the ground with a thud. A couple of the others tripped over, one using the inertia of the fall to propel itself further, grabbing Ross by the shoe. He let out a yelp in surprise as he fell backwards, jutting his elbows back to keep his head from hitting the ground before kicking free of the corpse's grasp and quickly getting back onto his feet. Afterward, Ross stomped on the head of the corpse as it decided crawling was more worth the effort and had closed in sooner than the one getting back up. He turned his attention to that one, hopping back as it tried to reach out and grab him, instead grabbing it by the wrist and pulling sharply, twisting his body to move out of the way and causing the corpse to land face first in the dirt. He put a knee to the corpses back and gave one final blow before turning to the final one. He pushed it back, knocking it to the ground before finishing it off. He stood back up, panting heavily and covered in blood; But without a scratch. He continued his way to notice the remaining corpses were no longer feasting, but their meal had become one of them. They began shambling off at the sound of some screaming in the distance in the other way. Ross stood to jump in and help, but then realized; He has no idea how many are going that way. He still doesn't feel like he understands the threat well enough and he just had a close call with four. He bowed his head in defeat, knowing there was nothing he could do. After managing to talk himself back into focusing on his objective, Ross continued toward the school to find that the front doors were locked. He peered over at the windows, curious to know if they could be opened, but unfortunately further inspection showed they had no hinges. He gave a sigh of frustration, shaking his head as he looked around for another plan. The last thing he wanted to do was drum up noise. He then thought about the recess yard. The back door may be locked, but it's a lot more defensible if he needed to break a window. He quickly and quietly made his way back toward the fence line, noticing it was a little shorter at the areas it met the school with another corpse sitting on the wall nearby. It wasn't moving, so Ross slowly advanced, watching the corpse closely to identify how he died. Getting within arms reach, the corpse began to breathe, startling Ross and causing him to jump back some before swinging his hammer into the skull without hesitation. He hopped the fence, and made his way to the door on his right. He peeked through the window on the door, seeing a woman standing next to the hot tables filled with breakfasts from the day before. He tried the knob to see it was unlocked, opening the door and creeping his way in. He studied the woman, noting her movements fit that of the walking corpses he's been encountering and began to advance. If this was going to be the base his brother wanted, he would have to clear it. As he drew near, the woman turned, blood going down her face. Ross quickly dispatched her and began moving to the hallway door. He opened the door and looked around, seeing a door off to his right, and the winding halls down the left. The area seemed clear, so he moved over to the door to check it. He opened it and peered inside the kitchen, seeing a man banging his head on the door to the cafeteria. He had an arm missing, as if it had been chewed off. Ross checked his rear and quietly made his way in, slowly closing the door behind him before advancing on the corpse. Once he got in close enough, he shoulder checked the man to knock him off balance, and then he put his knee on the back, dealing the final blow. He looked around and noticed that everything still seemed to be operational, and made his way to the hot tables, finding some bowls and plates. He then began loading food from the hot tables, plating as much as he could as quickly as he could and putting it in the fridge to keep it fresh until he or someone could get to it. He left the kitchen and began to search the classrooms. There were two doors to his left, following a trail of lockers along the same wall. He poked his head into the window on the first door, seeing nothing inside. He looked behind him and down the other hall that led into the library. There was a single person standing in the dimly lit hallway. They seemed to notice Ross, shuffling a few steps. Ross readied himself to dispatch it there and then, but then it began to pick up pace. Ross' eyes widened as the person began to lunge at him with a rapid pace, and he dove back behind the wall to his right just as the corpse cleared the corner. Luckily, he didn't expect it to just run face first into the wall. By the time it cleared the corner, he was ready. Ross raised his leg and gave a firm push kick, sending the corpse just as it came into the light and quickly made his way over to finish it off before it could get back up. Afterward, he fell back to the kitchen for safety and a moment to process what he just saw, taking notes in his journal about it as well as the group eating the corpse from earlier. As he wrote that, however he retched, looking around to notice a trash can and racing over to it before simply dry heaving. He panted and reached into his backpack, taking his bottle of water and taking a few drinks in the hope to settle his stomach. Ross regained his composure after a few minutes, and in the time he drank his water, he tried to focus on a page of variants he encountered, trying to think of quick and easy names to give them; Walkers and Sprinters. After putting everything away, Ross made his way out to the hallway the sprinter came at him earlier. To his left, there were more lockers with two more doors between them. In front, he had the library and another hall bending right. And to his immediate right, two bathrooms. He listened, trying to see if he heard anything in the bathrooms. There was the sound of what sounded like labored snoring in the women's bathroom, and Ross readied his weapon before pushing the door open. The dim light from the hall showed the silhouette of a man who was on the ground, his right leg mangled and bandaged poorly. He had turned at this point, trying desperately to crawl to Ross. He jumped back, noticing that it was using its good leg to propel itself as it crawled, making it much harder to strike. He took advantage of the fact that the corpse was on the pull side of the door and began devising a plan to dispatch quickly. His eyes wandered down the hall where the light came from, noting that it split off two ways. He then stood up and took his water bottle out, pushing the door open and quickly sliding the water bottle between it and the frame as a stopper. This would enable the corpse to grab and open the door himself; or get himself jammed in the process. Ross then quickly darted down the hall before turning right, spinning to face behind him to notice the corpse was still on the pursuit. He waited for it to clear the corner before jumping onto it, planting a foot to its back before striking the good leg with his hammer several times on the knee joint, ensuring it was completely shattered before jogging back to his safe spot in front of the kitchen. The crawling corpse managed to slowly turn itself around and begin closing in on Ross, who knelt for better leverage and dealt the killing blow. After the battle, Ross took a moment to recollect how far he had come in clearing, going back down the hall directly Infront of him. The doors on his left held empty classrooms, but the recess yard held about five walkers scattered about the field. He made a mental note and continued back to the intersection, turning left to finish his search. In the second door to his left, there were about three walkers distracted by something they saw out the window earlier. Ross took the advantage he had and made his way into the library directly ahead of him after checking the last two corridors of the hall to see that they were clear. Once he was among the towering bookshelves still rife with books, he began creeping his way through the shadows, cautiously peeking between them to find no walkers. He went back into the hall and went down the first corridor to his left, seeing two doors on the right wall, and one in front of him. He checked the first door, finding the teachers lounge with a corpse standing in the corner, staring off into space. Ross took a breath to steady his nerves and closed in, pinning the corpse against the corner and finishing it off before turning back to face the door at the sound of a door banging on the hall. He slowly made his way forward, scanning the hall in the direction the noise was coming from. He watched the door to his right rattle, with a deep snarling coming from the room behind. Ross poked his head into the window of the nurse's office, seeing not a corpse, but a woman sitting inside curled in a fetal position on the floor next to the cabinet. He held a finger to his mouth as if to shush her, and she nodded in response. Ross then turned to the remaining threat in the immediate area. He placed himself against the rattling door and braced himself, waiting for an opportunity to push all of his weight into the door to force the walker inside away. The walker inside sailed a little, falling against the sink with the sound of a brutal crunching sound before she fell to the ground. With more snarling, the dead woman began to now crawl to Ross, her legs no longer functional from the ambush. He struck twice in her head, finishing her off. Afterward, he made his way to the nurse's office, trying the door to see that it was locked. "Could ya unlock it for me, please?" He asked in a shushed tone. The woman inside managed to get herself up to her feet. "W-were you bit?" The woman asked. "No, why?" Ross asked. "One bite and you turn..." The woman said in disbelief that Ross wasn't aware, "Happened to ma and pa... Happened to Rose..." She added, trying to give him as much of her knowledge as quickly as she could, "Only people turn though. They ate the cat, bit the dog. Dog didn't turn, but she died." "Oh my God, you've been through absolute hell... I'm so sorry." Ross said with a saddened gasp, "But uh... Could you let me in?" The woman looked up to Ross, thinking over his request before standing up to let him in. "Y-you killed her... Didn't you?" The woman asked, noticing the aftermath as the struggle played out in her head. "You knew her?" Ross asked, nodding back to the bathroom he killed the last walker in. "Y-yeah..." The woman said after a pause. Tears welled in her eyes and she began to weep softly, falling back down to a seated position against the counters. "God... I'm sorry to hear that." Ross said, remembering he was the one who dealt the killing blow, "For what it's worth..." "Hey, what's your name? I'm Ross." He introduced. "Cornflower." The woman replied, wiping tears off of her cheeks. "Well, I've gotta say. That's a pretty name." Ross said, giving a warm smile, "Who was she?" He then asked, pointing out the door towards the bathroom. "My sister, Rose." Cornflower said. "What brought you and Rose here?" Ross asked. "The house we were renting while we were in town was overrun and we thought this would be a better place to camp. But there's so many of those... THINGS!" She said. "Well, I've got good news and bad news for you." Ross said, "Good news; I've thinned some of them out. My brother and I figured it'd be a good spot too. So maybe we could join up." "What's the bad news?" Cornflower asked. "I've gotta come up with a plan to clear out the rest of the place, and I might need your help." "W-wait, you're FIGHTING them???" She asked in disbelief. "Yeah. Been taking notes on everything I've learned about 'em here. We need a camp, school can provide but it's obviously infested." Ross explained, taking his notebook out of his backpack to show Cornflower. She began flipping through, surprised at the detail. "Crawlers are a variant of corpse that often aren't a threat. However I've noticed they can be quite sporadic if a single leg is functional. I also suspect that their low singular threat is also their greatest strength in numbers of walker variants, which may let them blend in." Cornflower read, "There's so much detail here!" "Never rush into a fight. You gotta understand your enemy to stand the best chance of survival." Ross said, "Learned that the hard way in the Army." "W-well, let me read this a little more and I'll consider how I can help." Cornflower said. "Alright, here. Could you add what you told me about the bites?" Ross asked, clicking his pen and handing it to Cornflower who turned to a vacant spot and began writing all the details she knew. Meanwhile, Ross took the moment to take a drink of water, topping his bottle in the sink. He also took time to search for any medicine that was left over. "There's three dead ones in the classroom by the library, and I counted about five in the recess yard." Ross said, "Hadn't checked the parking lot or the corridor that way." He added, pointing toward the hall he had yet to clear. "The class across the hall is the only one we didn't get to check. That's where the sprinter came at us and we had to run." "Alright, I'll make sure it's cleared out before I go scout the parking lot." Ross said, "Afterward, I'll come back here and come up with a plan to clear the rest out."
  5. So I've heard that the NPCs are mainly being scripted in numerous timelines from various backgrounds, traits, and other conditions that are essentially being hand-made. Which I can absolutely respect as that would allow more "human" responses in comparison to AI. I understand the idea of event chains that act like a logic system in a way, but I can't fathom anything short of a small army of writers to make it possible. Atleast without years of development. So I propose the following; why not let us, the community and gamers help write scripts or events? I'm sure we've all been through a number of situations and reacted to them differently depending on our own character builds or goals. If they allow the player base to contribute to this end, it would allow the devs to focus on the mechanics end to aid in speeding up the final release of NPCs. Not only that but it would allow some great diversity in the PZ world as of course, not every writer is the same. This could be accomplished by giving the community some form of template and maybe bracket it into categories of responses, reactions, or goals. Or a similar tool to properly and effectively integrate it seamlessly into the game. Essentially give us the guidelines and a relatively basic tool to help create the NPCs you, the devs, envisioned. Because trust me, we the players would love deep, lore rich NPCs. One way I could think of implementing this is breaking it down by traits or prebuilt classes. This way we could formulate different NPC reactions and goals that could potentially mesh together with other traits depending on their capabilities or limitations. Maybe even adding in reliance on other NPCs (such as potential family members) for negative traits such as deaf, weak ect or vice versa for bonus traits. Maybe have npc cops, firefighters, soldiers ect try to do their jobs at first and maintain the crumbling civilization. The possibilities are endless. A way to allow us access to this could be a form of massive logic chains. Where inputs from the beginning of the game could be handmade by thousands of players. Such as family members, goals, occupation, and some background information such as preferences, relationships ect. Perhaps even slap on a labeling system such as traits, personality ect to easily organize and piece together multiple chains. Finally a team of moderators to accept or decline certain inputs/outputs or entire chains for rating purposes or feasibility. It could be something as simple as a blog similar to this one, or more complex as a plug-in or game extension. Or even a bit of basic coding. Anything that would allow us to effectively help the core game.
  6. As I've been spending more time listening to the radio in the current IWBUMS, I've noticed that a lot of stuff happened near Louiseville; stuff that SHOULD appear on said map once it's added. If you kept listening to the LBMW and Knox talk, you know that the military had one big perimeter base near Louiseville, which served as refugee camp as well as an evacuation point. This is where General McScrotum was, which eventually ended up being overrun by Zed, and the military pulled out. I think that these places should appear on the map, and often contain loot that cannot be found anywhere else. I know that Military Aid is up there at the BIG NO! list, but these places should show up just because they're now canon, and we don't expect for the military to be armed with just pistols and hunting rifles. It should be one of the very few places where one may be able to find military-grade stuff, be it assault rifles, grenades (the Pipe Bomb is pretty much a grenade, so why not?), US COMM HAM Radios, Army Walkie-Talkie, Military Backpacks, stashes of medicine, MRE Rations, etc. And by the time vehicles are added, we could even find Army Jeeps (The good ol' and mighty Willy M151, with its great reliability, decent speed and low fuel consumption.) and maybe Military Ambulances (as the place was, after all, a medical station to threat the sick and wounded). In fact, I even have a pretty solid image of this place in my mind.... Surrounded by a pre-built concrete wall topped by barbed wire, with a few blockades with maybe a guard tower on the road leading to it, half a dozen of army-green trailers (some barracks, one COMM station, one Medical Station, a few armories and one Command Center) surrounded by tarp tents, some big like open-air medical stations, with beds, IV stands and cardiac monitors (bonus if many are full of bloodstains, covered in quarantine yellow tape and with corpses strewn around), and some small and containing bunk beds and the like. And of course, carnage; the whole place would be strewn with corpses, specially near the barricades and medical stations, bloodstains covering the walls and evidence of gunfire and explosions. Also, a Heli-Pad with a destroyed army helicopter on it would be a nice touch (to show that no Evac is coming). Of course, such a loot-filled place would become a more obvious target to survivors than the GIGA Mart and Cortman Medical. So, in order to make things balanced, this place would come with the deadliest contraption ever seen; an always-active military grade siren (think of an air raid alarm) that would go off whenever someone entered the camp. It would NOT STOP after a while unlike house alarms, and it would have a radius far bigger, dragging Zed from even more faraway places. There would be also no way to disable it, and it would keep working even after power fails. It would only turn itself off after a while since the survivors left the place. This would make the place a sort of ''Loot and run'' place. Grab all you can, and get away before the Zeds the siren's drawing trap you with no escape. This would make the risk of going into such a place something that every survivor would think twice. Wadda ya guys think of this? I'd love to hear a Dev's opinion on such idea...
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