Welcome! This is a free-for-all Zombie RP.
Feel free to come and go as you please. Real pictures only.
Please do not control other people's characters or attempt to kill another character without permission.
Sara hadn’t even noticed the look on Lana’s face. She might have found it slightly comical to realise that the woman had thought that she turned on her for a moment. Even though she had only known Lana. For a short amount of time, knowing someone in this world for a week or two would be like years of friendship before the end of the world came. Trust was hard to come by and somehow, Sara had found trust in Lana and the was something that she never thought she would be able to have with anyone else.
This was just proof that these women had each other’s backs and she was confident that as long as they stayed together they would be able to make it to their final destination, car or no car. She watched as Lana pulled the knife from the decaying eye and she smiled as she took it from her. [b “Thanks!”] She eyed the knife and picked up a kitchen towel that was lying on the counter and wiped it clean. [b “Just what I always wanted, dead guy eye juice.”] As soon as it was clean enough she placed it in the holder she had attached to her waist and joined Lana in rummaged the cupboards from anything that might be useful to them.
[b “I’ll check that we are secure down here and then sort us out something to eat. We may as well eat something that’s in the house so we done eat into our supplies.”] With that, the two went their separate ways. Sara spent some time securing the windows and pulling the curtains shut so that they didn’t draw attention to themselves and then locked the front door. It seemed sturdy enough and she couldn’t envisage any undead being intelligent enough to get in unless there was a significant crowd of them trying to bang down the door. She shook her head as if to make that thought fall from it and then moved to the kitchen to prepare something to eat.
She almost squealed in delight when she found that there was a portable gas stove in the cupboard under the stairs, along with some camping gear. At least they could warm something up rather than eat cold beans for dinner. There seemed to be enough gas left in the canister so she pulled it into the kitchen and set everything up before returning to the cupboards to find some tinned soup.
As they entered the house, Lana kept a watchful eye on the street, like she was glaring at ghosts. Ever since this whole Martinez shit happened she's acquired a few questionable habits; glancing in the rearview mirror, not stopping for long, but also stopping suddenly when there was a noise, and now she was scanning the area for any movement other than undead. She rubs her eyes with her forefinger and thumb before swiftly moving inside the house with Sara.
And for the most part, it looked like Lana's original assessment of the house worked out. The house was in pristine condition in regards to the apocalypse, and it didn't look like it had been looted. It might be strange, but it certainly was not unheard of. There were a lot of shitty overlooked towns like this one that could be an oasis for survivors on the move. So, with that in mind, she joins Sara in the kitchen, leaning in the doorway as her partner checks the cupboards, who points out no one has been here for years. She was about to step in to fully join her, maybe look for some instant coffee or something when Sara turned on her with a knife. It took her a second to process what was happening, looking at her partner as she came at her. Thoughts raced through her mind, interrupting her movements. She got in to a ready stance and pulled her knife out, but it was too late. She hesitated. Too slow, too stupid, and now she was...
Lana tracks Sara's arm and turns around just in time to see the Scab crumple to the floor, Sara's knife embedded in its eye. She gawked for a moment and then shook her head. She didn't even hear it coming up behind her! Goddammit, she was slipping.
[b “Thanks.”] Lana says a little tightly, pulling the knife out of the undead's eye socket and handing it back to Sara. It seemed pretty clear to Lana that her own thoughts were not on surviving, which is where they should be. This just reminded her how easily you could get killed out here, and why she needed to remain focused on their current predicament... However hard that might be right now... She wondered if Sara noticed how distracted she's become.
Walking passed Sara and in to the kitchen again, Lana begins rummaging through the cabinets, taking stock of what was inside in the event they needed anything or there was something here they didn't have. They weren't exactly short on food, but that was something that could come on quickly and was deadly out in the wild. Water was also something of concern, but in her experience, it was usually easier to find than a steady supply of food you didn't have to run after.
[b “Lets lock this place down and get ready to settle for the night. We'll pick up again in the morning and figure everything out.”] She told Sara. It was only now she realized how tired she was, but to be fair, their ride here wasn't exactly the smoothest. [b “I'll go make sure the upstairs isn't holding any surprises for us.”] Plus, she wanted a bed to sleep on.
Sara might have expected that Lana was opposed to walking to Alcatraz. Quite honestly so was she, but unless they were lucky enough to find a vehicle she had no idea how they planned to get there by any other method of transportation. Sara was more concerned about being out here when she knew Martinez was looking for Lana. She didn’t quite know what he was capable of but judging how shook Lana and David seem to be at the mention of his name, he must have some power even in this apocalyptic world. Lana didn’t seem like the type of woman to get scared easily and she was sure that she was not scared of Martinez, but the mention of his name motivated her to want find him and put an end to his reign before he found her.
Before the dead started to rise again Sara enjoyed walking to most places. She would go on holidays that would include hiking through mountains and any other form of exercise she could get. In a way that had helped her be prepared for the end of the world, where most of her journeys have consisted of walking. Before she bumped into Lana she had pretty much walked everywhere across many states. The journey may have taken her months at a time but it was her only option. Maybe that is why she was so willing to walk to Alcatraz, because she was used to [i having] to walk. However, Lana seemed far more resourceful than her and since they were travelling in a pair it was safer to have a vehicle. If Sara had bee alone she would’ve avoided the vehicle because of bandits who could easily overpower her and steal whatever she had, maybe even kill her for the use of a working vehicle.
She smiled towards Lana and then focused on the road ahead. The town was approaching and from what she could tell, it wasn’t a settlement of any kind, nor did it seem like it had ever been a settlement which meant that it was either not worth anyone’s time or at some point it was overrun by the dead. They could only hope that wasn’t the case now. As they got closer it seemed as though they were in luck, no sign of a swarm of undead but that didn’t mean that there were not some around. Sara stopped in front of the home that Lana has pointed out and too a few minute to assess its suitable like Lana had done and when she was satisfied she nodded and moved forward, giving Lana a second to coax out any dead if there were any. Sara moved forward when give the sign to.
The place looked untouched. It was clear that whoever has lived here left in a hurry and didn’t take anything with them and judging by how well placed everything seemed to be, no one had been here since the original owners, which was strange for a world where those living often ransacked every home they came across for whatever supplies they could get hold of. She moved forward through to the kitchen and took a minute to look around. Not even a single cupboard was open so she moved forward and checked them. There was some food in there, probably questionable but it was food. [b “It looks like no one has been here in years.”] She said as she turned to face Lana before lurching forward in a panic with a knife in her hand. It might have looked like she was going to stab Lana but she missed her head by and inch, placed on hand on her shoulder and shoved the knife right into the head of the dead who had been so very close to biting a chunk out of Lana’s neck.
[b “Apparently he had a delayed response. Typical man.”]
At least one of them could maintain a level head in this situation. Sara's reluctance to let this get her down and positive attitude made Lana feel a little better about the situation. So instead of venting more of her frustrations, she takes her place next to the former police officer and wordlessly walks down the road with her. They were heading in to a small town, but basically aside from Washington and until they hit California, the States were just littered with small towns full of nothing. At this stage of the apocalypse, that wasn't exactly the worst thing; it meant they would meet a lot less resistance than they might in the cities.
When asked about how long it would take if they [i walked] to Alcatraz, Lana squints and looks at Sara. [b “We are [i not] walking to Alcatraz. We'd be looking at over a weeks travel if we were [i lucky].”] They would figure something else out, it wouldn't come to that, especially since Martinez no doubt still had a Kill Squad out to get them. He had no way of knowing that they were out here on foot, but she had the sneaking suspicion that he'd find out somehow. People could still be bought, threatened, and intimidated, and Martinez would take advantage of that if it meant he got what he wanted... In this case it would be Lana.
The sounds of the undead radiated through the air, but they were spread out, either those who were unable to leave the town or stragglers. The town was small, and it didn't look like much had happened to it. Lots of dilapidated buildings, old rusting vehicles, cracked asphalt, broken windows, and a ton of overgrowth. The place must have been evacuated early on, and no one or very few people have passed through here. There were no recent signs of life, modifications to buildings, or vehicles that looked like recent additions. Just a boring town, and exactly what Lana would expect of Oregon.
[b “There.”] Lana points. It was a small building, a home, but it looked like all of its windows were intact and none of its doors were wide open or removed. [b “We'll stay the night in there and figure something out in the morning. There has to be something we can use around here.”] Her hand was on her hip as they looked at the home, and it grazed the currently off radio. They were closer to San Francisco than they were in Montana, so they might get a signal out, but Lana was reluctant to use it especially considering how well that worked last time. There were no secure channels to use, and she didn't want to broadcast her and Sara's whereabouts for an army of Martinez's goons to show up and kill them. They got away lucky last time, and they weren't that fortunate considering all of David's comrades got slaughtered.
Marching towards the house, Lana stops at the door and looks from side to side before opening it. She peeks her head in and whistles methodically, the sound carrying through the silent house. She waits a few seconds and then does another tune, and then waits again quietly for any sounds. If there were undead inside, they'd have begun moving towards the sound and they'd hear it. And if there were people around, the alarm of someone showing up would cause for at least a few jerky noises while they either got in to position or hid. Once satisfied that there was nothing and no one in the house, Lana jerks her thumb to the inside. [b “I'll cover you.”]
They had been travelling quite easily for the last day or so, that was at least until the car that they had chosen to travel in had given up on them. She might have known that the journey to Alcatraz would be smooth sailing, especially since nothing was that easy in this fucked up world. Sara’s shoulders flinched as Lana kicked the car. She couldn’t blame her for it really especially since she might have done the same if she was the one driving. God knows she had kicked her fair share of cars that had broken down on her road trips or whatever else she happened to be driving to. Although, she didn’t seem to mind the time her car broke down on the way to her parent’s house that once. She managed to avoid a really awkward question about the fact that she cared too much about her job and sacrificed having a husband and children because of it. Now she wished that car had gotten to its destination. She would give anything to see them again. She would put up with every awkward conversation possible just to go back.
At least they hadn’t broken down in the middle of a herd of undead. That didn’t mean they were entirely safe but the lack of immediate danger was a relief. Sara hid a smirk behind her hand, finding Lana’s reaction quite comical. While she was rather amused, she did understanding the frustrations of the car no being something they would have to abandon. It meant that they journey would be long and more troublesome. Sara started to gather her things as Lana did the same, laughing outwardly this time at the second booting of the car.
[b “You don’t need to apologise for something that neither of us have any control over. All the cars I had were pieces of junk before the apocalypse so I’m used to have a stupid machine conk out on me. We’ll make do for the night and figure something out after a night of rest.”] She smiled towards Lana in hopes that it would alleviate some of her frustration and then started to walk along the road, knowing that it would be safer to avoid the trees right now. Walking along the road gave them a better view so if any undead were heading their way they would get a good chance to prepare.
[b “How many days would it take us to walk? Just in case we need to...”]
[b “I should have expected this much from the fucking end of the world!”] She punctuated the sentence with a kick to the side of the car. They had been driving for almost a full day now and had just survived Washington for their car to break down just on the border of Oregon. The car they took was old, beaten up, and in the apocalypse you could only do so much even with a proper mechanic, so the thing was already basically held together with scavenged parts and duct tape. The terrible road conditions plus zombie speed-bumps didn't help, and after Lana had no choice but to drive through a small group of undead, the car started making funny noises, so it was only a matter of time after that. They couldn't take the highway since it was overrun with abandoned vehicles, and Lana went a little rogue taking a 'short cut' that drove them through the small group.
With one last enraged huff, she turns from the car to look more at where they were. More specifically than the side of the road. Currently it looked like they were just on the outside of a small town, and it was quiet, which was never good. The usual noises of nature like bugs and wild animals weren't present which meant that this could be trouble... And it was trouble they would have to deal with since they didn't currently have a car. So their next step would be to find shelter, and maybe another car if they could find one that worked. At this stage in the game, a lot of cars were ripped to shreds and pillaged for parts, but maybe they could get lucky and find one that worked. Or they could walk the rest of the way to Alcatraz... Lana fucking [i hoped] not.
Brushing a few stray hairs from her face, Lana squints at the quiet town a mile or so in front of them, and then at the trees and fields surrounding them. [b “Well, I guess we should probably find somewhere to set up; it'll be dark soon, and I'm [i not] sleeping in a car that can't make a hasty getaway. Piece of junk.”] She gives the thing one last kick and opens the back, taking her pack and weapons. [b “I'm sorry about the car.”] Lana says sourly, her usual frown now a deep scowl. It only proved to deepen when the telltale snarls and calls of the undead began to be heard on the other side of the road inside the treeline. [b “And I'm sorry about that. Lets get a move on before something else stupid happens.”]
Sara couldn’t help but feel like being here wasn’t exactly a choice at all. While she had stopped believing in a god a long time ago, there was still some of her belief in fate that remained. A small part of her wondered if that it was this was. Perhaps she had spent so much time alone that fate had decided to push her in the direction of company that could help her feel that little bit more human again. It was too easy to forget about the normal human emotions in such a world but being here in this encampment with Lana was causing something to stir within her. She didn’t quite know what it was yet, but she knew that it was something that she had previously forced down deep within her so that she didn’t have to deal with emotions anymore. It seemed like things were changing now.
As she glanced in Lana’s direction, the two of them seemed to leave some things unsaid and that was perfectly fine with her. It was what she was used to, and she knew that neither one of them wanted to expose too much vulnerability to the other. In this world, people had learned to exploit such vulnerability. While she seemed to have developed some sort of trust in Lana, she wanted to keep her guard up for that little bit longer, simply to protect herself. The silence between them was a comfortable one until Lana broke it with the clearing of her throat, Sara glancing in her direction with the indication that she was about to talk. She nodded and followed her back to the rest of the encampment and almost laughed at the look David had plastered upon his face when Lana admitted that there had been no coffee in the first place. His response was equally amusing and roused a laugh from her.
Sara spent the next few hours helping Lana in any way that she could, following her instructions to the letter so that they could organise those who wanted to go to Alcatraz to start over. With how John had reacted initially, a part of her wondered whether anyone would want to go at all but in the end, it appeared as though quite a few of the residents were feeling the same way as Lana. Some felt their time here was limited and felt that it was best to move on to Alcatraz now while the journey would be made easier with the access to a helicopter. If they would have to trek across the States to get there, she imagined the numbers would be far more limited. However, it seemed that the numbers were going to cause them a problem, especially since they all had their supplies and luggage with them. It would have been unreasonable to expect them to go with anything less.
David looked to the two of them and could see the hesitation cross his face and she glanced towards Lana, registering her frustrated look before looking back to David. If she had to guess what this was about she would assume that there was no room left on the helicopter. That inference was only confirmed when David finally spoke. It was then that she also assumed that Sara and Lana would be the ones to stay behind. Lana wouldn’t sacrifice any of her people and Sara certainly had no intention of leaving her so before she even opened her mouth her had made a mental decision. It looked like they were going to be driving there instead which didn’t surprise her in the slightest. Lana was stubborn, and she intended on getting to Alcatraz and she wasn’t about to let the lack of space on the helicopter be a reason to stop her.
Sara nodded at the end of their short exchange and pat David on the shoulder. [b “Just get those people to Alcatraz safely and we will see you soon alright?”] She said with a smile before watching him leave with Lana’s people, John following behind them to see them off. He was staying of course, never really much for the idea of leaving the encampment in the first place and Sara was confident that he would do whatever he could to protect those who had elected to remain.
Packing was a strange experience, especially since she didn’t exactly have any belongings to pack in the first place, but she was of a similar size to Lana and she set some clothes aside for her so that she had something at least. The two didn’t exchange much conversation while they were gathering some things but when they both seemed to finish Lana spoke up.
[b “I’m ready. For anything.”] She looked at her seriously then. [b “I know that I’m still a stranger to you really, but you should know that I’m not going to let Martinez get to you, same way I know you’ve got my back.”]
Sara's answer caused Lana's small smile to appear. [b “You have anywhere in the world to be, I'm just glad you chose for it to be next to me.”] She wanted to say more, like how she didn't think she could do this without Sara's trust and companionship, but Lana was already feeling vulnerable as is, and that's not something she was used to. Nor was it something she tended to let herself be. So instead, she elected to leave it unsaid. She turns her head and looks over her shoulder out at the pond; this was probably the last time she would be seeing it, after all.
Clearing her throat, Lana turns back to Sara and then nods her head resolutely. [b “It's time to prepare to leave. I'm going to make an announcement and make sure everyone who is onboard knows the plan. After that, I'm making sure Martinez is done being a plague.”] She pats her partner on the shoulder and leads the two of them back to the encampment proper. Almost immediately, they run in to David who looked slightly distraught.
[+1d7c50 “I'm sorry, Lana, I couldn't find the coffee.”] And her small smile appears at that. She beckons for him to follow them.
[b “Yeah, that's because I lied to you. There is no coffee.”]
The man pulls a face, something between surprise and near absolute betrayal. [+1d7c50 “You lied about coffee?”] His face smooths out to neutral, but a small grin cracks on his features. [+1d7c50 “Anyone tell you, you can be kind of a dick sometimes?”]
[b “Almost always.”]
[+1d7c50 “Keep up the good work, then.”]
It was going to be a bit of back-breaking work in the next couple of hours, but after that, they'd get whoever was coming on to the helicopter and out of here. Then she could devote all of her energy to finding and killing Martinez, but she figured it wouldn't be that hard to find him, after all, he'd be looking for her too. The two of them had a score to settle, and apparently it took the End of the World for them to be able to do it. [i Fucking Kandahar]... She should've killed him back then, but even with all that had happened in those few critical moments, she hesitated... Next time she wouldn't hesitate. All of her time and personal resources would have to be expended on this, for the safety of all.
She quickly finds John, and after a brief and quiet discussion, the man nods his head and begins gathering people. The normal and relatively peaceful environment of the encampment became a hubbub of activity. Word was spreading about Alcatraz, more so than it already did with her and Sara's return with David, but this time about how the other's might actually get to [i go] to Alcatraz. Details and instructions were given as to where to meet and when if they had decided to go, as well as the various dangers this might pose, and why it was advantageous to leave.
Obviously many were skeptical, they had a good thing going on here after all, but there were people like Lana who thought this was a temporary solution. Some didn't pay attention, but many could divine the dwindling food supplies, the population steadily growing, and the increasing threat of the undead and bandits. Despite the camouflage the foliage around them offered, they were relatively exposed, and if a herd of undead or an organized group of bandits came in, they didn't have the firepower or resources to survive it. So, Lana was giving them an option to go somewhere that was more defensible, safer, and they could survive further in to the future.
[+1d7c50 “... Seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen.”] David said as he counted the heads of gathered survivors. He then tapped his chin for a few seconds, looking over the supplies and luggage they were carrying, obviously crunching numbers in his head. After another moment, he frowns and turns to Lana and Sara, the former soldier returning his frown. This couldn't be good.
[b “Well?”] She impatiently inquired after a few more seconds of silence. He didn't seem like he wanted to upset the two women with how he hesitated, but he bit back the uncomfortable feeling.
[+1d7c50 “With all the people plus the supplies, we can't fit anymore on the helicopter.”] And her frown deepened. [i Typical.] But she didn't blame David or the others for this outcome. The survivors assembled had what they could carry with them, their whole lives from the beginning of this mess til now, and many probably sacrificed personal effects to make space to bring more important items to their new home. Despite the fact that her and Sara were unable to go with them, she sensed something else might still be amiss...
[b “And the bad news?”] Lana asks with a pointed look, but at this point she could see the dismay on his otherwise smooth features. [b “You can't come back, can you? Not for two people, at least.”] And David nods at that. She guessed it made sense for the most part. Alcatraz to Montana was a long helicopter ride, and they needed to conserve as much fuel as possible. A swift pick up and drop off for the two women was a pretty abysmal waste of resources. [b “I guess we'll just have to meet you there, then.”]
[+1d7c50 “You can't be serious, Lana...”] He glances at her. [+1d7c50 “Wow, okay, you [i are] serious... But that's like, a two day drive [i before] the apocalypse.”] He thinks on it for a moment. [+1d7c50 “I'll have to figure something out on my end, but hopefully I can convince them to let me come pick you up when you're closer to San Francisco. If not, I'll pull together an extraction team and we can meet half or two thirds of the way.”]
[b “That won't be necessary. We can make it without you endangering the lives of your people.”]
David rolls his eyes. [+1d7c50 “Shut up, Lana. We need more people like you and Sara, and you bet your ass I'm gonna do everything I can to make sure you guys get to Alcatraz safe and sound, especially with the target you have painted on your back. Martinez knows you're coming, and whether it be by air or foot, I'm sure he's cooking something up to make sure your paths cross.”]
[b “Fair enough. I guess you win out on this one, David.”] And after that conversation, it didn't take them much time to pull some of their own stuff together. John and some others went with David to see the group off to the helicopter to Alcatraz, leaving Lana and Sara at the encampment, it now eerily quiet with the bare bones of people staying behind. To occupy the quiet, Lana noisily packed her bags, splitting what she had in half for Sara so the two of them could make this trek together. It wasn't lost on her that the other woman was more or less roped in to this with nothing but the clothes on her back, and Lana wasn't about to leave the British woman high and dry. Sara was doing her a favour by letting herself get dragged all over the country by Lana after all. At any point, the British woman could've just left for greener pastures, but she stayed with her instead. So with all of her power, Lana would make sure they both safely got to Alcatraz so they could live out the rest of their lives in relative peace.
Zipping up her bag with some final additions, Lana looks up at Sara. [b “Ready? Its a long drive to San Francisco.”]
While she still wouldn’t admit it aloud, Sara knew that there was something there between herself and Lana. A mutual trust and respect that she had not expected to form upon first meeting this woman. It was perhaps something that would form the basis of a true friendship if they had bet before the world turned to shit. Or perhaps she was wrong. Perhaps it was these exact circumstances that had helped them form this budding friendship…if that was even the right word for it. Maybe now, she would never be alone again but even as she allowed the thought to pass her mind she shook her head and if to stop it from settling.
For a moment she watched Lana carefully as she conversed with David and almost protested that Lana was only now sharing that there was a trailer where she could have gotten coffee if she wanted it. What she wouldn’t give for a cup of steaming hot coffee. It had been years since she had that rush of caffeine and the satisfaction that came with it. Coffee made her think of simpler times.
[I The streets.]
[I Full of those not fully understanding the danger that surrounded them every day and those who pretended not to see things to keep themselves safe, or what they believed to be safe. The truth was, in a world forever populating and rapid social change coming about every so often, no one would ever be truly safe. There will always be violence and decay on the streets. Bustles of busy humans going about their everyday lives never really understand how much of a blur their life had become filled the streets. At this particular moment they were instinctively getting their coffees and making their phone calls on their way to their place of work, going about their every day routine that many would never break out of.]
[I The streets: the place where not many felt safe but a place where Sara did her work. These streets were busier than what she was used to. London, England, where she had lived previously was what she considered to be a busy place, had nothing on where she was now. Noise pollution filled the air even during early hours but on such a wider scale than she had ever witnessed. This was her new home.]
[I The sun was not as strong as she had expected on this particular day which she was pleased about as she had not been here long enough yet to straighten out her body clock and the extra strain of heat may have hindered her judgement and performance on her first day in her new department. The taste of rich coffee brushed her lips and danced along her tongue as she entered into the building where she hoped she would bring justice and help solve the problems that the detectives of this town were currently having so many issues with. As the coffee slid slowly down her neck she allowed herself to close her hazel eyes for a moment and enjoy the taste of the amazing blend she had never tasted before. A smile threatened the corner of her lips as she walked to the desk and she composed herself as she threw the empty take away cup into the nearest deposit and headed for reception.]
[I If there was one thing Sara prided herself on it was her professional persona. Her golden brown hair fell just below her shoulders in lose curls with some of it tied back with a small clip which complimented her delicate yet strong face which was barely tarnished with any form of make-up. She wore a grey suit that was tightly fit to the contours of her slender body and her sensible flat shoes allowed her to be comfortable and a height she felt safe with. Nerves were another thing Sara was not used to, but being in a completely new city and not knowing how things were done here were proving to be enough to make her slightly nervous although she passed the thought aside as she announced herself at the reception.]
The memory faded away and she was left watching David walk away from the two woman. Her hair was no longer the same golden brown colour and her appearance was no longer the professional persona she had once valued. It was Lana’s voice that cut through to her now, causing a laugh to erupt from her. She couldn’t deny that she wasn’t glad that there was no trailer holding coffee.
[b “I’m glad of that. I might have had to hurt you for holding back on me.”] She said as she followed her to an area that had a lot more greenery than the main encampment. There was only a short silence between them when they arrived and she sighed peacefully as she allowed her eyes to drink in the scenery. [b “I can see why. It seems like the perfect place to inspire thought.”] Sara looked towards her now, understanding that there was more she wanted to talk about and instantly shook her head when she asked her initial question and then listened intently to the woman as she spoke. Her final words struck her right in the stomach.
[b “Nothing is going to happen to the encampment or your people and you certainly shouldn’t be worried about me. And if I were Martinez I’d be terrified of messing with you because I [I know] that you will take him down and I [I know] that you won’t let anything happen to the people you care about. Neither will I. I’m here for whatever you need me for. It’s not like I have anywhere else to be.”] She said as she nudged her gently, looking towards her with a smile.
Despite Lana assuming Sara would join her whether she asked or not, she still found herself holding her breath when she awaited the other woman's answer. It almost felt like something akin to relief when Sara answered in the affirmative, and that's when Lana realized she had held her breath. Either or, tense or not, she couldn't help the small upwards quirk of her mouth at the former police officer. It was hard to think how little time the two of them actually had been together, but it was hard for Lana to imagine getting this far without Sara... She could always count on her, and vice versa.
[b “Thanks.”] Is all she says and then turns back away. It looked almost like she was going to walk away, but stopped. She had a lot of preparing to do, and she didn't really know where to start... But this was a long road ahead, and no doubt was going to be chaotic with no brakes, and little to no sleep in between. Not to mention there were people in the encampment who would see her plans buried in the mud, happy to live here until they couldn't anymore. It was short-sighted and stupid, but she had to admit, her own plan and how fast she had to put it together seemed almost crazy. Add Martinez on top of that? Jesus Christ, this was beginning to become a nightmarish soap opera...
Moving back to her earlier thoughts, and how her very small circle of trust just gained an additional member, she [i could] utilize Sara in this situation. Her [i Wild Card] and unlikely friend. It still baffled her how close they were now and how much Lana could depend on her... It was a dangerous thing, but also surprisingly valuable, which almost seemed strange to her. Well, this whole [i situation] was strange, to be honest. Here she thought she was going to move some people and then live as happily ever after as one could now, but instead she was going to prepare for war. There was just too much going on all at once, and very little time to think and construct a decent plan. [i 'You don't have to do that alone anymore.'] She resolutely reminded herself.
Lana turns back around to face Sara and David, but turns her attention to the male. [b “I have some things to take care of; why don't you look for the trailer with thirty-seven on it and get yourself a cup of coffee? We won't be long.”]
[+1d7c50 “Sure thing, I could definitely go for a cup.”] He says with a nod and begins to start walking towards the trailers. He turns and points in some direction, Lana nods, and David continues on his way.
Taking a step closer to Sara, Lana smirks slightly. [b “There is no trailer thirty-seven.”] She tells Sara with a small titter, placing a finger on her lips as if this was their little secret. However, jokes aside, she motions for Sara to follow her and she leads her through to the outskirts of the encampment. As she has probably gathered from being here for the last while, the encampment was surrounded by thick trees, providing them with concealment from the outside. It also had the same effect on the inside, the encampment not being able to see out in the event of intruders, dead or alive. To amend this, the camp was dotted with watch towers that rose higher than the trailers and RV's to help spot anyone who was lucky enough or stupid enough to wander in.
At the backside of the encampment, they were still surrounded by trees, and Lana leads Sara through the brush. It appeared to be a path less travelled, and as they trekked not far from the encampment, came a pond. In front of them and on the edge of the pond was a small empty dock, which Lana guides Sara to. When finally there, Lana step on to the wooden planks and close to the edge of the water, looking out over the calm waters and quiet landscape. After a moment of silence, Lana turns back to look at Sara. [b “I come here a lot to think.”] Although because of how chaotic the last half week has been, she hasn't been afforded enough time to come here and do some of her thinking.
Lana glances over her shoulder looking plaintive for a moment before looking back again at her companion. [b “Do you think I'm crazy, Sara?”] And then she thinks about that for another second. [b “I mean, do you think this whole Alcatraz thing is crazy?”] Lana reiterates. This would be the first time, and possibly the last, but Lana seemed to be vulnerable. [b “If I'm being totally honest with you, I feel like this is kind of crazy. After we learned about Martinez, this whole thing kind of feels more far away now, almost like its unattainable. Back in Special Forces Martinez and I weren't friendly with each other either. He's always been a dick and he has this sort of... Cold fury that always rattled me. Like, no matter how calm he was on the surface, he was one bad day away from snapping and loosing his mind. I'm afraid that after everything that's happened, he finally [i has] and he's going to stop at nothing to make me and those I care about suffer.”] At this point her head was turned looking back over the water again. [b “I don't want anything to happen to the encampment because of me.”] And she looks back up at Sara. [b “And I don't want anything to happen to [i you].”]
Whether Sara truly believed she was simply passing through was yet to be discovered. She would keep telling herself that for as long as she needed. After all, it was such thoughts that had helped her survive for so long in the world alone. Everywhere she had visited was simply as a fleeting guest, taking what she needed from the abandoned buildings and moving on. Staying in one place had gotten so many people killed and she had managed just fine before now. Even as she allowed the thought to pass through her mind she was beginning to realise that she had already spent too long here. Perhaps it was almost time for her to move on. As David contemplated her importance to the group, she still considered herself insignificant, never having been important to anyone but that kid who had been slaughtered before her. She had promised herself never to become important again or allow anyone to become important to her. Sara had no idea how her heart had already betrayed her head.
It was then that she noticed Lana making her way towards them. She didn’t look happy and that didn’t surprise her at all. Sara knew that torturing a man was never easy work, but she could tell by the fixed lines upon her face that she had clearly pulled some information from the man that had angered her. Her eyes darted from her face to the bloody rag and she had to internalise whatever emotions might have come to the surface. It was the kind of thing Anthon would have done, the kind of thing gang leaders did when the world was a different level of shit. Things were different now and sometimes she had to force herself to remember that. One thing Sara couldn’t decide, was whether her appearance was linked to the news that she was about to share, or whether the human side of her was affected by the torture she had just committed.
Sara braced herself for the delivery of news, but she didn’t recognise the name, nor did she have any experience with the man to strike fear into her like it seemed to do for Lana and David. All that she knew, was that if his name meant something to both of them in this fucked up world, even with the distance between them, he was obviously a big deal and likely a big threat too. Great. Just great. Maybe it was time to get the fuck out of here. All she could do now was listen to the back and forth between the two of them to learn more about this man. It certainly sounded like he was someone neither of them should be messing with but there was a pit in the bottom of her stomach that told her Lana wouldn’t simply let this one go.
[I Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.] She wouldn’t be able to let this go either. Whether she liked it or not, Lana meant something to her now and God did she hate herself for letting that happen. [I Fuck.] It seemed that Lana had already made her decision about her next steps and whether she wanted Sara by her side or not, she would be there. It just so happened that she did.
[b “I’ll come with you. I’ll help you settle your people and I will help you eliminate Martinez as a threat.”] She wouldn’t say that she would leave then. She couldn’t say it, because deep down she knew that she couldn’t leave her. She had become far too important to her.
David seemed relatively surprised that Sara was 'just passing through' the encampment. At first it had crossed his mind that Sara and Lana might be a couple, but at the very least he assumed Sara was some kind of important person to the group. It appeared Lana trusted her, and the quiet intense woman seemed pretty slow to trust and kept her circle of friends in small single digits... So maybe Sara was someone of importance to the group, she just didn't know it yet!
However, he didn't have anymore time to inquire as Lana found them, wiping her hands off with a rag and then tossing it in to one of the barrels spread around used for fire. Although he's known Lana for a few hours, he could tell something was up, especially considering she was just interrogating a bandit. The bloody rag she threw away didn't escape his notice either. She hid it quite well, but it looked almost like she had seen a ghost; her eyes moved around quicker, her face was a touch paler, and a part of her bottom lip quivered every now and again.
[b “I have some bad news.”] Lana tells them, glancing over her shoulder to make sure this conversation was just between the three of them. She turns her gaze back to both of them and lets out a breath she forgot she was holding. [b “These bandits are organized, and they're led by a man: Sergeant Major Miguel Martinez. He was part of Delta Force with me and he's wanted me dead even before the apocalypse.”]
[+1d7c50 “Martinez?”] And this time it was David's turn to look like he had seen a ghost. [+1d7c50 “Holy shit, out of all the fucking people I could've wound up with, its someone [i Martinez] wants dead. No wonder they sent a kill-squad.”] This is when Lana seemed to get less far away and turned her attention more to David.
[b “You know him?”] Lana asks and the man nods at that. She motions for him to keep explaining.
[+1d7c50 “Remember how I was saying we were having huge problems with bandits attacking the coast and docks? Its Martinez. I don't know much about the man, but I [i do] know he's a psychopath and he's amassed a lot of followers. They follow him like he's Conan the Barbarian, and they've been pillaging and killing all over Northern California. When he wants something, he doesn't just take it; he kills everyone first and then takes it. He's even got his main detachment in San Francisco now because he wants what we have.”]
That sounded just like Martinez. [i Fucking asshole.] This proved to be more problematic than she would have [i ever] thought, but it definitely explained as to why the bandits wanted to capture her. Even before the End of the World and while she was still with Delta Force, Martinez was an unhinged loose-cannon, but in possession of one of the most dangerous minds she's seen, and after what happened between them in Kandahar... She couldn't imagine what he was like now or what he was going to do to her if got his hands on her alive. And if he was willing to send a strike team to basically die at her hands—and she [i knew] he knew that they would—then he would be more than happy to slaughter everyone she cared for even if it did something as little as souring her mood... And he now knew about the encampment because she blabbed on the [i fucking radio], so they were targeted because of her... Thank God she didn't give out their coordinates during that situation...
[b “Well this poses a bigger problem now... If Martinez knows I'm alive, he's going to stop at nothing to get to me. He has a score to settle, after all, but that just means we have to move more quickly to minimize the damage. I didn't want to have to jump ship so soon—I would have preferred to be the last to go—but me being here makes everyone a target. I won't let anyone else die because of me.”] She looks up at the two again after pondering some. [b “I'm going to Alcatraz with as many people from here who are willing. Once we're there, I'm going to do what I should've done years ago: I'm going to kill Martinez.”] She begins to turn away but stops, glancing over her shoulder at Sara. [b “I would like you to come with me, but its ultimately your choice. You're the only one I trust to see this through to the end with me. And when its all over we'll both finally have what we've always wanted in this fucked up world: peace... Or at least the closest thing to it.”]
The fact of the matter was, Sara couldn’t remember what it was like to actually have parents to call upon. They used to be on the other end of the phone, ready for them to talk her out of whatever funk she had gotten herself into, or to praise her on her most recent accomplishment. Now her funk was indefinite and her accomplishments amounted to how many leeches she killed and how many days she survived. 1821 days. Counting kept her sane, or so she told herself. She only hoped that the day would come that she could stop counting...that she could survive without wondering how many days she had left.
Sara remembered when the world had first gone to shit; how many times she had called her parents with no response. They were half way across the states on vacation when it happened. The last she had heard, when the news was still reporting, was that the ‘disease’ or ‘virus’, whatever they were calling it then, had infected the entire continent, perhaps even other parts of the world too but they had been shut off from the rest of the world. Chaos ensued and communications broke down, radio silence was all the remained and suddenly she had been left with no way of contacting her parents. She prayed to a god she did not believe in most days, praying that they were still alive somewhere, that they had found shelter in an encampment like this or that maybe they got out of the country before things got really bad.
She seemed to shake the thoughts from her mind and looked to David, his voice bringing her away from the memories that haunted her whenever she least expected it. That was the thing about this kind of life. There really was very little distraction from your thoughts, unless of course you were being chased by a herd or bandits. Then you barely had time to think at all. Now, listening to David speak she focused on thoughts of Alcatraz. Sara has been sceptical, she was still sceptical, but she was not as closed minded to the idea of sanctuary. After all the shit she had endured, she had to believe that there was [i somewhere] that offered a safe haven. It that was Alcatraz then she would perhaps give it a chance. David has been right about the stability here. Regardless if the arguing, this was a tight-knit community. Hell, they wouldn’t even bother arguing if they were not that close or they didn’t truly care about the encampment at the residents within it. She nodded at his words and took the opportunity to glance around at the people working in vegetable gardens, or tending to the very few animals they had been able to rear.
[b “It’s certainly the most stable encampment I have come across. Lana and John have a lot to do with that. They command respect and they lead but they also genuinely care about the people. It’s hard to find that nowadays.”] It was not surprising that it amazed David to stumble upon a place like this. She was still amazed, even after spending the best part of a week here. [b “The last encampment that I came across with this many people was not so much a community as it was a labour programme. Apocalyptic scenarios allow for power hungry people to grab the reigns and become someone they never would have been in the real world.”] She thought reflectively before glancing up at him to answer his question.
[b “Oh...I uh - I don’t know how long they have been here or how they have managed to organise themselves so well. I’m not really a resident here. I’m just...passing through I guess.”]
David just watched what was happening between Lana and the man John. Apparently Alcatraz was a point of contention between the two, and as an outsider, he could see how it made a sort of divide in the group. David didn't realize how much his coming here would have made this much trouble; he was expecting a little bit more cohesion, especially considering how well Lana and Sara seemed to work together and agree with each other.
When Sara commented it was like watching parents fight as they walked, he nods. [+1d7c50 “Its understandable, though. Alcatraz was hard for me to believe as well until I got there... And there seems to be a lot of stability here too, which I know is important these days.”] That brought back an awful memory.
It was when he first heard of Alcatraz, and his original group—which was much smaller and less sustained than this—were divided on staying or going. He didn't have a helicopter then, so he couldn't just go and check it out, and to him, this wasn't the first time a group of bandits got crafty and promised the world over the radio. It didn't help that the transmission was garbled, either. However, they remained divided on the matter, and before they could come to a conclusion, it was too late. Nearly everyone was wiped out by a herd, and with nothing left to lose, David decided to try this proverbial Shangri La, and when he got to the docks, he's stayed with them ever since, doing what he can for people who might be in the same situation he was in all that time ago. And it was just plain old luck they had a helicopter and David could fly it.
For the most part, the small mob that had gathered upon their arrival slowly filtered back to what they had been doing prior, only leaving a few people remaining close-by to stand guard. [+1d7c50 “Its sort of amazing to me that something like this exists outside of Alcatraz. I've never seen this many people in an encampment before. How long have you guys been here now? This must have taken a lot of time and effort.”]
Its been a long time since Lana had interrogated anyone. Not since Delta Force. And in the U.S. Armed Forces, they had a lot of interrogation techniques, very few of them being moral... But moral wasn't something Lana had really been, maybe in some choice situations, but definitely not after the apocalypse.
[b “Move.”] Lana says harshly, shoving the bandit in to the farm house. She leads him in to what would have been the living room, but like basically every room of the house, it had been stripped of everything but the bare necessities. She brings him to one of the load-bearing posts and backs him up in to it. [b “On your knees.”] She commands, and he does as he's told.
From her pack, she takes out a bit of rope and manoeuvres herself around the post, and quickly swings it so its around the bandits neck. She ties it tight, but not enough so it'd choke him; she just wanted him in a stress position so interrogation would be easier. But who knew, maybe this would be easier than she was thinking it'd be. Being resistant to torture wasn't a skill most had.
When the knot was tight enough, Lana stands back up, but doesn't move to be in front of him. The room was dark, save for some of the natural light that filtered in from the pulled down blinds, but it did its job making the room look gloomy, the stripped room adding to the effect. [b “I'm not a very patient woman, so I'm going to ask you questions, and I expect answers to them. For your benefit I'll make them simple. First up; How did you know where to find me? The radio?”]
It takes a few seconds longer than she'd like, but he did answer. “Yes.” Was all he said, but that was fine by her. It appeared he thought of what to say or if he was going to say anything, weighed the consequences, and then answered. And considering how tight his answer was, she'd say so far so good.
[b “Good. Now why were you and your pals gunning for me? Why am I wanted alive?”] And again, silence hung in the room, Lana giving the guy time to think, but time quickly ran out. She knew when she wasn't going to get an answer, swinging around the post, Lana was suddenly in front of the guy, and crouched down so they were at eye level. Despite the poor lighting, she got a better look at him; no older than thirty, and only hardened by circumstance. He wasn't a soldier or a cop or anything that might have toughened him up before the end.
Out from her boot, Lana pulls a combat knife and holds it in front of the bandit's face. [b “Do you know what this is?”] And he tries to look away. With her free hand, Lana grabs him by the chin and forces him to look at her. [b “Its a Yarborough knife. I got it when I graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course, and its been my best friend ever since. Up close, I'd rather have this than any firearm; even if your hands weren't tied behind your back, your neck to a post, and you were locked and loaded, I'd still rather be me.”]
Lana's hand suddenly grasps behind his head, and she jerks him forward as far as she can despite the rope, and violently places the knife's blade just under his jaw, the tip at the back of his ear. [b “I could slit your throat before you even got the chance to fire on me. The longer you talk, the longer that doesn't become a reality.”] She pulls a little harder so he was choking on the rope. [b “Answer my fucking questions!”]
He was gasping at this point and Lana lets go, and lets him catch his breath. It takes him a moment, but he levels a death glare at her before answering. “We were told to.”
And she scowls. [b “By [i who]?”]
Sara herself couldn’t even remember the last time she had something close to a girlfriend or a boyfriend for that matter. She was never the type to fit into the box that society tried to create. Heterosexual, homosexual…that didn’t matter to her when the world hadn’t gone to shit and it sure as hell didn’t matter to her now. In her mind, people were free to choose who they wanted to be with and it just so happened that Sara had chosen to spend most of her adult life alone. That decision carried through into this new world well and in some ways, her lifestyle had made it easier for her to adjust but that didn’t mean that there were times she found herself thinking about what it might have been like to be with someone again. After all, sex was also part of human nature, just as much as every other emotion.
Sara cleared her throat and glanced towards Lana in the mirror, smirking to herself as she joined in on her joke. She then glanced to David and pat his leg nonchalantly, lowering her voice to a whisper. [b “It seems your dick is safe…for now.”] She smiled and looked away, examining his handywork with her leg and made sure to thank him for helping her with it. When she was satisfied that her leg had been well tended to, she turned her attention to their bandit prisoner and thought to herself for a moment before pulling rope out of her bag and using it to ensure that he would not be able to free himself from the knots she had formed. She also gagged him so that he couldn’t whine about much for the rest of the journey. From that point on, the journey back to the encampment was pretty quiet.
As they drove past the scene of survivors she found her heart grow a little heavy. It was difficult to see survivors be taken so easily after managing to make it this long without being bitten or killed by bandits or whatever other monsters lurked in the shadows. It was always harder to see these things when there were children involved. Sara remembered how she used to think that the world was not a good place to bring children in to, but now, she knew that she was right about that. Although, children born into this world did tend to survive a lot better than most of the adults when they got to an age where they could protect themselves. Any dreams of having a normal childhood, something all new parents wished for their children, were gone.
It wasn’t much longer before they arrived back at the encampment and she braced herself for John’s anger once more. She could already see a small gathering, waiting in anticipation and whispering about whoever the newcomer might be. Lana had not been the kind to bring newcomers into the camp but over the last week or so, she had brought in Sara and now David. The bandit hardly counted, since she imagined he would not remain alive for much longer. Lana had the aura about her that told her she was prepared to hurt and kill to protect the lives of her encampment but in order for her to protect them, she needed to protect herself.
It was Lana’s voice that brought her attention back to the people in the jeep. She didn’t know when Lana had started including her in the number of residents of her encampment, but she was no longer filled with that familiar dread that she usually felt at the prospect of belonging. Sara didn’t waste any more time and climbed out of the jeep, keeping close to David as she moved towards the gathering crowd of people. She could also feel the tension in the air as David tried to offer a friendly introduction that did not seem to be taken too kindly by any of the other residents. Now all she could do was stand and watch Lana and John go at it with their figurative boxing match. There was no point in getting involved, she didn’t exactly have any authority to do so and she knew that they were going argue about this quite fiercely over the coming days.
Lana turned to her and asked her to stay with David, to which she nodded straight away, content with the responsibility but it wasn’t until John spoke again that she realised what Lana’s intentions had been. The cop inside her was screaming to make sure that it didn’t happen, that she couldn’t possibly allow this woman to torture another human being, yet she was able contain her dismay and chose to push it aside for now. She turned to David and used her head to gesture that the two should take a walk. When he started to follow, she felt the tension in her shoulders begin to disappear with the distance put between them and all the negative energy.
[b “I feel like I’m watching my parents argue with those two!”] She said, trying to lighten the mood.
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