The ragged band of survivors had been arguing for days over whether to mount another trip into town. The bitter memory of the last trip, of course, hung over them: several had been lost on that scavenging expedition, and the rest had only narrowly escaped the ravenous zombie horde. On the other hand, the group was desperately short of supplies.
In the end, the debate was settled by something altogether unexpected—the sound of a helicopter clattering in the distance, followed by an explosion and cloud of smoke in the center of town, somewhere near the abandoned town hall. It was the first sign of civilization that any of them had seen in over six weeks.
Mission: Investigate the helicopter crash. Bring back at least 25 supplies.
Survivors: , Herbert Pimlot (former SWAT team member and/or mall cop), Helga Frankfurt (housewife and WWII memorabilia collector), Freddy and Eddy (street thugs), Demi Delite (independent contractor), Dr. Myles Boffin (research scientist), Prof. Ginger Barton (anthropologist, explorer, feminist), Dirk Bogart (private investigator).
* * *
All seemed quiet as the group halted on the outskirts of town. In the distance smoke could be seen rising from the wreckage of the helicopter, which appeared to have crashed on the edge of the abandoned military post, just short of the landing pad.
Ginger spotted something in the woods near the bridge, and warned everyone to be careful (below: red markers indicate possible contacts). It was a small group of shufflers, who headed towards the group.
Herbert stepped forward, and opened fire with his MP5, gunning down one immediately. Dirk and Helga opened fire too. Soon the woods were clear.
In the meantime, Eddy and Freddy left the group and decided to ford the stream the the east. there they encountered a lone ankle-biter, struggling to reach them in the mud. They had far too much fun pelting this with rocks, until Eddy finally finished it off.
Near the woods the sound of automatic weapons fire soon attracted the attention of other groups of walking dead, which began to converge upon the survivors. Fortunately in one case a particularly dangerous group of runners was distracted by a pack of feral dogs, and took after them instead.
Also, two strangers appeared: Luke (a tough ex-biker) and Jane Doe. Ginger and Demi stepped forward to negotiate with them, and after a few false starts finally convinced them to join the group. The new arrivals then helped fight off a few more undead abominations as they came in search of living flesh. Luke was bitten in the process.
Freddy and Eddy crossed the stream, intending to scavenge the Town Hall and perhaps even search the helicopter wreckage. Not particularly trusting either of them to do as they said, Helga joined them.
Myles found some full drums of scarce gasoline hidden under the bridge. With assistance from Demi and Dirk, they were hoisted onto the bridge so that they might be retrieved quickly if the group had to beat a hasty retreat. The rest of the group then advanced across the bridge towards the center of town, hoping to check out the church and a few other buildings for possible supplies.
Luke and Ginger started to argue as the gruff ex-biker made a snide comment about women. Moments later there were other shouts, this time of joy. Demi had spotted two unexpected figures: Coach and Suzy Wong! They had been members of the earlier expedition into town, whom everyone had given up for dead weeks ago. Apparently they had been alive and hiding in the ruins all this time, cut off by zombie hordes—until they had heard the ruckus in the town.
All seemed to be going very well indeed. Eddy and Freddy had reached the Town Hall and had already found several useful items, although they periodically fell to squabbling over who got what. Helga fought off an ankle-biter at the military base and was well on her way to reaching the crash site. She also found a working military truck, although it appeared to be out of fuel. Herbert remained near the bridge, guarding everyone’s route back out of town.
Fate, however, is cruel and unforgiving. Helga reached the wreckage, only to find that any clue as to the origin of the helicopter had been lost in the fire when it had crashed. Even more tragically, no sooner had Coach and Suzy emerged from hiding to greet their friends when there was a sudden savage sound of barking. A pack of feral dogs ran into view, and immediately attacked the three. Moments later, a pack of a half dozen shufflers came around the corner, likely attracted by the sound of the melee. Jane rushed to help, firing into the snarling, moaning mass with both barrels of her sawn-off shotgun.
Dirk, Demi, and Myles also ran forward, but they were too far away and there was little they could do. Amid groans, growls, and the staccato bursts of gunfire from Suzy’s MAC-10, first one then another survivor succumbed to the onslaught. Coach, badly wounded, retreated slowly while swinging his bat.
Blam-zing! Suddenly a high-powered rifle shot ricocheted off the wall of the church. A gunman, high up at the balcony of of a large house down the road, had opened fire. Blam-splat! A second shot rang out, this time taking down one of the zombies.
Coach felt behind him for the door of the church, opened it, and slammed it behind him. While it wouldn’t stay closed for long, perhaps he could lose his attackers in the ransacked building. Wounded, he limped as quickly as he could for the back door of the church as two of the zombies pursued him. Outside, more gunshots could be heard. Blam! Blam! Was the unknown sniper trying to help, or just shooting everything in sight?
Meanwhile, Demi, having just seen two friends devoured by the slavering maws of the zombies and Coach vanish from sight, leaned against an upturned jeep for a moment to regain her composure. Unfortunately, it contained an animated corpse, which clawed at her, injuring her badly. Myles and Dirk rushed to her aid, extinguishing the foul creature.
Blam! There was another shot from a different location, this time hitting Myles in the leg. Clearly the sniper, or snipers, weren’t very friendly at all. Demi, Myles, and Dirk ran towards the Town Hall, trying to keep cover between themselves and the gunmen. Hordes of zombies, attracted by the sound, started to converge on the gunmen’s location. Jane, infected by a bite, rose from the dead to join them (picture, right: suspected sniper locations).
At this point, Eddy and Freddy decided to head out of town, their arms (and pockets) stuffed with supplies. Helga was about to join them, when she noticed a charred sheaf of papers fluttering in the wind, bearing the unmistakeable seal of the Republic of the Maldives. It was debris from the helicopter—a vital clue!
Coach successfully escaped out of the back of the church, and began limping towards Helga whom he could see in the distance. An ankle-biter in the grass held them up a few moments, but he was eventually battered into an undead pulp. Helga bandaged Coach’s wounds, and the two began to set off towards home.
No sooner had Eddy and Freddy recrossed the stream, however, when adversity struck once more. A huge horde of shufflers ambled up the road, cutting off their escape. Freddy took his grenade from his pack, and threw it into their midst, destroying several. In the ensuing confusion the two young thugs then high-tailed it back towards base camp, leaving their fellow survivors behind.
Herbert was made of sterner stuff. Clad in his body armour and ballistic helmet, he emptied clip after clip from from his MP5 at the approaching undead. When that ran out he drew his 9mm pistol, firing as they converged upon him. One was a formidable zombie boss, groaning with bloodlust as it rushed forward. Herbert calmly took it down with a single shot to the head.
Ginger rushed back to the bridge to help him, but there were too many of the abomionations. “Go back!” shouted Herbert. “It’s too late for me.” Indeed, by now he had several bites, any or all of them likely carrying the dreaded zed-virus.
Herbert turned and fired his pistol at the fuel drums piled on the bridge, hoping to detonate them—thereby blowing the bridge, and immolating both himself and the growing mass of undead around him. He missed. And missed again. The zombies took him down, ripping apart first his body armour then his bloody limbs.
Some distance away, Dirk heard the shots, and understood what the brave cop had been trying to do. He too stopped, aimed, and fired—this time, hitting the drums. They detonated with a thunderous explosion and huge fireball, destroying the bridge and incinerating several zombies besides. “He was good flatfoot,” muttered the PI as he turned to rejoin his companions. “He deserved to go out with a bang.”
The survining survivors all reached the Town Hall, pursued by a runner-zed. Dirk shot it down. Ammunition was running low—Helga was out completely, and Dirk had but a few shots left. The group then hurried to the same part of the stream where Freddy and Eddy had crossed earlier. They weren’t far from safety now…
Yet once again fate intervened, as another group of shufflers cut of their escape path. Ginger stepped forward, drew her revolver, and calmly began shooting at them as they charged forward. “Get out of here,” she shouted, “I’ll hold them off.” Demi, Myles, Helga, and Luke ran, or stumbled, to safety. Dirk, however, wasn’t one to abandon a dame, and joined the anthropologist as they began a desperate fighting retreat. As he did so, a zombie lunched forward, biting him in the arm before being knocked away with the butt of a gun. They ran to join their companions, as rifle shots from the mysterious snipers could still be heard echoing in the town.
* * *
And so it was that the party retrieved both a clue as to the origins of the mysterious helicopter and a sufficient number of supplies. Unfortunately, Luke and Dirk had been bitten, and succumbed to the zed plague. They were double-tapped before reanimation.