[i Well... This was exactly the shit show I had been expecting since we got here.
Every bit of personnel they could spare they tried to place as many in defensible positions in the major cities of America. Keep the peace, keep everyone alive. Montana was supposed to be easy, but this plague, or virus, or whatever the fuck it was called, spread quicker than wild fire. And the panicked civilians didn't exactly help either.
The Billing's radio station was deemed the most defensible position, and they had taken it under orders, and fortified it, but after that... Orders didn't come. We had been without any contact with Command for weeks, and the situation there was getting worse.] Way [i worse. The rioting stopped only because the infection finally swept through, and fortunately they were sheltered by the blockade in the way. The undead seemed more interested in the civilians trying to flee the city and escape in to their homes rather than the people sent here to] protect [i them. Hiding away behind concrete blockades and high windows. The front-line defence in the city was wiped out and rest of us weren't exactly interested in stepping outside after that.
As a result, tensions were high, moral was bottoming out, and supplies were starting to run out. The only thing they weren't short on was ordinance... Hope was running out and it seemed everyone's humanity started to go with it. I don't know if it was because I've only been serving in the Army for a little over a year, but I was starting to feel like I was trapped in a cage with wild animals armed to the teeth.
But that was until a crackle over the radio sounded. There was someone on the other end, and finally it came.] Orders. [i It was addressed to all military personnel to evacuate and retreat to] Washington. [i Apparently that's where America was making its last stand. Could you fucking believe that? I couldn't, and apparently neither could half of the people I was trapped with. How the Hell were they supposed to get there? Fucking] Washington. [i And why? To die? But that's what started this mess. An argument over whether we should all go or defend our position. I myself wanted to stay; being in here was better than out there being torn apart by the infected or a crazy civilian. Washington was a trek and their survival wasn't guaranteed. Call me a coward if you must, but they made it pretty fucking clear over the last few weeks they didn't give a shit about us until they needed extra bodies. I wasn't about to go out and possibly get ripped apart to] absolutely [i get ripped apart in Washington. Obviously everyone had their opinions about it, but either we stayed and tried our best to survive or ventured out at the cost of losing their station. It turned in to a screaming match.
I don't know when the first shot went off, but when it did, it hit the guy next to me. Spattered my face-piece with blood. And after that, everything really went to Hell. Everyone began unloading on each other, and in close quarters, nearly everyone was getting ripped to shreds. Luckily for me I was near a table and flipped it over, provided myself some cover as I blasted the people I called 'comrades' seconds prior.
Someone began yelling my name, and I looked. They had opened the door to the main studio, beckoning me to come, and so I did. It wasn't far from where I had been in cover, but when bullets and shit were flying passed you, it felt like miles. But I made it, and it was a miracle I didn't get hit, but it looked like my luck was in short supply.
Someone lobbed a fucking grenade in to the room while the door was held open for me. The explosion blew apart the guy holding the door, and took me off my feet, blowing out part of the wall and the window overlooking the city. I flew across the room and slammed my face-piece off of the main console, shattering one of the protective lenses on my mask. I only had a second to react, picking myself up and aiming my assault rifle for the door, two soldiers coming through and I tore through them with the rest of my magazine.
The silence was deafening after that, my ears were ringing, and other than that, all I could hear was my heavy breathing. I couldn't hear anything from the other room. I waited a moment before venturing to the main office only to see that everyone had killed each other, and by some divine intervention, I was spared the same fate. I never would have thought that being thrown from my feet would be my saving grace, but it was. However, I didn't take much time to think about it before I got myself moving again. Despite the chaos outside, this was bound to attract unwanted attention, and I had to get myself the fuck out of here to somewhere safe. Out of the city, out of the state for all I cared! Fuck Command! Fuck Washington! But I couldn't leave my brothers in arms behind like this. I didn't much understand the outbreak or the virus, but all I knew was that people who died came back to life as monsters. Was it airborne? Waterborne? It could've been an STD for all I fucking knew! I didn't care. All I knew is if I was laying on the ground dead, I'd want someone to blow my brains out and not take the chance I'd get back up. I didn't want to come back as a monster.
So that's what I did. I took my sidearm and I put a bullet in everyone of my comrades heads before I left, taking what ammunition and supplies I could carry with me. It might've taken time I needed to get out of there, but I knew I would sleep much better knowing my friends, my comrades, my brothers in arms, wouldn't come back trapped in bodies that weren't theirs anymore. And I knew that I would feel much better thinking that someone would do me the same favour.
I got out of the building as fast as I could, and it was just as a tidal wave of infected came crashing towards the blockade. They saw me and I ran the other way, hopped in to one of the Humvee's and got myself the Hell out of there. The undead followed, abandoning the radio station, but I outran them, and I kept going until the vehicle sputtered out of gas. By then, I was far far away. And I was alone. No undead, no living, nothing. That was fine with me though... I was still alive after all, right?]
When all was said and done, Lana went through the encampment, disappearing for a while, before returning to the farmhouse to sequester herself in her room for a few hours. Despite violent death being commonplace these days, she still gave herself time to wallow and feel feelings. Her and Ben didn't talk much up until recently, but he was always close-by. He was almost like a light in these dreary times, somehow making the best of everything.
A few hours later, there was a knock on her bedroom door. Lana was sitting on the floor in a corner hugging her knees to her chest, glaring at the door. [b “What?”] It came out just as bitterly as she wanted it to. She wasn't to be disturbed during her quiet time.
“We're looking for Ben's locket.” A voice comes through the door. “We were going to bury it tonight and he didn't have anything else we knew that was important to him. Do you know where it is?” And Lana scowls at the door and looks at her knees, bringing one of her hands in front of her face. She opens her clenched fist, to look at the small oval shaped piece of metal that hung from a thin chain.
[b “No.”] Lana answers, stuffing the locket in to her pocket and continues to brood. Soon enough, her eyes shot open and she was picking herself up from the floor, and out of a drool puddle. She had accidentally fallen asleep on the floor, but quickly shakes it off. Waking up meant brooding was over and there was work to be done. Despite Ben's death weighing heavily on her like an iron weight, the world still turned. Maybe she didn't give herself enough time for bereavement or whatever, but she got up and went about, preparing for their next mission.
It was relatively simple to prepare for this one. They were just meeting with a scout, which meant one person or a small group if they were smart. She didn't want to appear too threatening, but she still packed in case there was trouble. It was over two weeks of travel by foot to San Francisco, and if these people were coming in three days, it meant they probably had a helicopter and no doubt some pretty nifty ordinance. They probably were packing in case Lana was a bad apple as well, but it seemed there was some good will in their group considering they were making the trek over a spotty radio communication.
Either or, friend or foe, Lana packed as if it were for foe. And this time she made sure to pack a few grenades. For the most part, it was a pretty basic kit and it didn't take Lana very long to assemble two of them for her and for Sara, it was mostly just busy work. Waiting the time for them to head out and meet with the Alcatraz scout was the hard part for Lana. It wasn't just the tension that her and John's argument created either, and it made her want to pull her goddamn hair out. She managed to tough it out, but in the end she caved to herself, and the two women ended up leaving a few hours early ahead of schedule. It wasn't exactly a bad thing either, and it gave them more time to survey the area and set up.
When she had first contacted them, she was pretty nondescript, and in a hurry; essentially she had told them 'the airport'. Well, the airport was a pretty huge place with a plethora of hiding spots, and that wasn't even mentioning the inside of the airport building itself. There were grounded planes, abandoned vehicles, a warehouse attached to a hangar, the control tower... Lots of things to keep their eyes on, but at the same time it was so open she'd feel like a sitting duck if they just went and waited on the tarmac They parked the jeep in a pretty obvious place, but not close to where they would be camping. They stayed close to the building where the planes would have hooked up to the building for boarding passengers at the back. It gave them a good view of the place and at the same time provided them with a bit of cover.
She was pretty eager just to wait, but upon Sara's suggestion to survey in shifts, Lana agreed that would probably be more advantageous. They took turns sitting on ground level and then looking around, keeping in touch with walkie-talkies if required. And after one of her shifts, she began to walk back to be relieved by Sara only to see her on her feet, gun pointed. Despite not seeing the danger just yet, Lana pulled her gun out and plastered herself against a car, peeking through the windows as the person approached. [b “I'm here.”] She warns, letting Sara know she had back-up. Lana just wanted the element of surprise.
Soon enough, the man got closer, his own pistol drawn on Sara, and he stops a safe distance away, having a bit of a stand off with the former police officer. The man was tall and muscular with dark bronze skin. He was bald, but had a bit of facial hair, and he wore simple jeans, a jacket that didn't do anything to hid the bullet proof vest he was wearing underneath. Other than the pistol he was holding, Lana couldn't tell if had anymore weapons on him... it was always good to assume they did.
[+1d7c50 “Are you the Major?”] The man asks, and Lana whirls out of cover, gun raised and letting him know they had him outnumbered. However, she was also assuming that he probably had backup.
[b “Depends who's asking. Who are you?”] Upon her appearance, he didn't make any sudden movements, but his gun lowered a fraction.
[+1d7c50 “I'm David, I'm with Alcatraz.”] He says, and Lana nods, lowering her weapon and then nodding to Sara to do the same. And as she does, she approaches David, taking an arm and spreading it, patting him down. Fortunately she didn't find anything except for a knife in his boot and a radio on his belt.
Taking a step back, Lana nods to the man. [b “Sergeant Major Lana Cutler.”] She motions back at Sara. [b “Officer Sara. Where's the rest of your crew?”]
[+1d7c50 “Where's yours?”] He challenges and Lana smirks at that.
[b “I asked first.”]
With a sigh, David nods his head, pointing a little off to the side at a corner of the building. [+1d7c50 “They're around the corner waiting for my signal or if things go bad. We've run in to some bad apples on this call before and we learn from our mistakes.”] That was good. [+1d7c50 “Where are yours?”] Lana smiles again and a look of surprise crosses his face as he looks between the two women. [+1d7c50 “Its just you two? What about your encampment? We thought we were gonna have to air lift a bunch of you out.”] And that confirmed her suspicion that they came by helicopter.
[b “This is a general inquiry. I contacted you from the radio station in Billings and I didn't have much time for a back and forth.”] The memory gave her a small chill. [b “We were overrun and had to make a hasty exit.”]
David nods his head at that. [+1d7c50 “I can't say I'm upset you called us here for a conversation. Its been a long time since someone's called us over that radio channel, and honestly? We're looking for more capable people on the level... We've been having major issues with bandits attacking the coast and docks in to the city.”]
Not exactly appropriate for the situation, but Lana laughed her girlish laugh. David seemed surprised at first, but then smiled a little bit. [b “It never fucking ends, does it?”] And David shakes his head. [b “Call your people over. I'll bring you back to my place and we can figure something out.”] And David does just that, taking his radio from his belt and giving his people an all clear. They turn to look in the direction they were coming in from, and about five other men rounded the corner, beginning to jog in their direction.
[i Blam!] and one of the scout's coming towards the threes head exploded. It took her a moment to react, but when she did, she grabbed David by the arm and shoved him towards Sara as a hail of bullets rained down from the top of the airport, David's friends to shreds. [b “Move! Move! Move!”] Lana shouts, as bullets begin to rip up the tarmac on their way back in to the airport. She kicks the door open, two surprised bandits standing in the hallway, and Lana promptly kills them with her pistol. She keeps the other two moving with her in to the waiting area of the airport, stowing away between the many seats that made up many more rows. She couldn't tell how many of them there were, but a few of them entered the area, quickly breezing through—probably towards where they heard Lana shoot their comrades—but it left them with a little bit more information on the situation.
“Remember not to kill the girls; we don't know which one Lana Cutler is.” One said as they sped through the waiting hall... They were looking for her? [i Fuck.]
Sara’s breathing was heavy by the time they got to the car, barely making it out of there before the two of them would have been squashed into a pile of blood and flesh like Ben had only moments ago. It was as though she had been holding her breath for the entire time they had faced off against the hulking beast and her body was now desperately trying to fill itself with the much needed oxygen that she had been deprived of since she watched Ben’s body being ripped apart from limb to limb, his remains being chewed on as though he were some kind of dog toy.
She did not even try to talk to Lana, knowing that there was no point in doing so. Both of them had been responsible for Ben’s presence among them, which meant that they were now equally responsible for his death and while she was sure Lana had grown used to losing people, she was confident that [I neither] of them had seen such a gruesome demise. Back when the world was not so decayed, the most gruesome death she had seen had been at the hands of some sadistic psychopath who had chosen to dismember his victim with precision. This had been animalistic and far from predetermined and it was something that would stay with her forever. She had a thick skin and a strong stomach but there was nothing that would stop her from being violently sick the moment she was alone. Even having Ben’s blood and bits of flesh on her body seemed to prove that his death was her fault; a reminder that he had been there because [I they] had decided to take him along. She had already grown attached to the little shit and now he was gone. In the blink of an eye.
Sara was sure that the journey back to the encampment had lasted far longer than it had going out to the city but she knew that was more to do with her mental state and the fact that her anxieties about how the encampment would react to their escapades. When they arrived back it was almost evening and she fully expected the crowd of people gathered around as the truck pulled in. Her nerves were on edge and her stomach was flipping over repeatedly. She might vomit right there and then but she took a deep breath, although it filled her nostrils with the disgusting stench of flesh and blood, and tried to calm herself. She looked towards Lana now, who spoke for the first time since leaving the city and she shook her head. Then she accompanied her actions with words, noticing that she was not exactly looking in her direction. [b “I do not answer to them but I am equally responsible for what happened today. I will not be leaving you alone to contend with this.”] With that, she climbed out of the vehicle, presented a united front as the two came to face the angry faces of the awaiting crowd.
John was the first to speak and it did not surprise her. She just remained quiet throughout the exchange. It was not her responsibility or place to speak up, especially when she was just a random person to these people, her purpose was simply to offer moral support. The moment he mentioned Ben’s name her anxiety peaked again and she glanced down at the ground. Hearing the words seemed to make it more real and she wanted nothing more than to get between the two to stop them from arguing, yet she held restraint. Ben knew what he was getting himself into. He was a kid, but he was a kid who had been brought up in a world that was cruel with death around every corner. He [I had] to know that he risked his life out there. However there were words echoing in her head now.
[I “This is war; survival is your responsibility.”] She would have agreed with that before she found the people here. She was alone for that very purpose, but even so, Ben should not have been expected to take care of himself when there were two adults there who should have been more than capable of protecting him. Then there was a sound that made her shoulders tense up. In the world she had once known she would have arrested John right then but this was note the same world anymore and she had no authority over these people. There were no laws and God knew that there was very little humanity left in the world.
John was not the only one who was pissed at the two of them for their actions and it was felt intensely over the next few days while they waited for the scout to meet them in their chosen location. She had considered leaving the encampment and going back to her life of solitude but a part of her believed that she owed it to Ben and to Lana to at least stay until she had met up with the scout as planned. People avoided her when she moved about the encampment and she was sure that John wanted to throw her out on her ass and she didn’t blame him. She was not their responsibility, she didn’t live among them as a resident but the moment never came.
Lana and Sara took it in turns to man the post of coordinates, knowing that no one else would want to be involved in what they had started. She found herself sitting on the ground waiting for Lana to switch places with her on the third day, a bottle of water in hand as the sun beat down on her. It had been a rough few days but she was glad that her skin was no longer stained with Ben’s blood. She had almost used bleach to wash it away but hurting herself was not going to help the situation. A sigh escaped the woman’s lips as she took a sip of the drink and she narrowed her eyes as she saw a figure in the distance. She readied her weapon and rose to her feet.
Her bullets pancaked and ricocheted uselessly off of the hulking undead's taut dead flesh, and soon enough he assault rifle ran empty... and that's when her brain began functioning normally again. It was still hard to think, but fortunately it seemed Sara was still in her right mind, and began shooting at a vehicle close enough where when it exploded, the blast caught the creature enough to buy them some time. Lana was then hauled to her feet and the two of them ran, leaving the confused and agitated creature behind before it got its bearings. By the time it began chasing them, their own vehicle and means for escape were in sight, but Lana still feared the worst. Getting in, and turning on the vehicle took time, and it would be enough time for the the monster to catch up to them and pull them from the jeep like sardine in a can. It was [i just] like earlier.
[i Just like earlier...]
Grenades! As they run, Lana quickly inspects the empty assault rifle, opening the grenade launcher attachment, and, [b “Thank Christ!”] There was a grenade locked and loaded still. It looked like luck was still on their side, even if it was steadily running out.
The second they reached the car, Lana whipped around and took aim, watching as the hulking beast picked up speed, running their way as a group of undead steadily grew behind it. So when she saw her opening, she took the shot. She pulled the second trigger on the attachment and hit the fucker dead in the chest, the grenade exploding on impact, engulfing the area with smoke and fire. She didn't even bother to confirm if she killed it or not, instead she just hopped in to the jeep with Sara and sped out of there as fast as they could, and didn't let up on the gas for a while afterwards to put as much distance as humanly possible between the city and them... But now came the difficult part. [i Home.]
Just like before, Lana was silent for the car ride, but it was a different kind of silence. Not the usual comfortable and disciplined silence that the ex-soldier normally surrounded herself with, but a [i solemn] silence. You'd think with all of her experience, all those years of training, all the [i death] she's seen, the comrades she's lost, the blood she's shed, this wouldn't be something that bothered her. But it [i did]. It shook her to her core and it won't stop hurting. It made her want to vomit. Feeling the blood and gore that soaked her clothes, crusted in her hair, and stained her skin made her want to vomit. The motion of the road made her want to vomit. [i Breathing] made her want to vomit. However, for the duration of the ride she kept her shit together for appearances sake; instead she just kept a deathlike grip on the steering wheel.
When they finally arrived back at the encampment, the sun began to dip from the sky and the sky darkened. They clear the trees that kept the entrance of the encampment partially concealed, but when they did, they had people waiting for them. Right passed the gates stood John and a few others, arms crossed and looking none too happy upon the women's return... This wasn't going to be fun.
Wheeling the jeep to where it was originally parked, Lana kills the engine and pauses for a moment, looking out the window at the small crowds upset faces centred around John. She turns herself back around and places her head on the steering wheel for a moment before letting out a slow breath and straightening up again. [b “You don't have to stay for this.”] She tells Sara, not looking at her. [b “You don't answer to them; feel free to walk away.”] She could do this on her own, Sara didn't deserve to be brought into this hot-button issue, especially since... She grimaces and exits the vehicle, prepared to face the consequences on her own.
[+red “The chicken's always come home to roost, Lana.”] John says upon her approach, taking in her bloodied appearance. He tilts a little bit and while still crossing his arms, he points over to the jeep. [+red “I see you managed to recruit some help too... Dammit, Lana! We talked about this; we don't have the resources to waste on foolish flights of fancy.”] And Lana didn't say anything back. She was just waiting for the hammer to come down at this point. The obvious detail that would kick up this shit-storm in to full bloom. And it finally came when John looked back at the jeep again. [+red “Is Ben hiding in there? Because he needs to hear this too. We can't afford the two of you doing whatever the hell you want.”]
Her eyes moved from John's off to the side and then just behind his feet for a moment. It took a little while longer than she would've liked to admit, but when she finally looked up, the words finally came out. And the reality set in. [b “Ben's dead.”] Lana says slowly and John took a step back, shocked at the revelation. [b “Killed right in front of us by a giant undead.”] The imagery of his brains being smashed out on to the pavement and splattering her played in memory, and she quickly suppressed the urge to gag, suddenly very aware she was still covered in his gore.
When John finally took that in, his face was red and his hands were moving. [+red “How could you let him come with you!? He was just a kid for Christ's sake!”]
[b “I didn't have a choice! He caught me on the way out and I couldn't have him telling you where I ran off to!”] They both took a step forward, in each others face's now.
[+red “That's your excuse?! Ben was killed because he inconvenienced you?!”] He sounded incredulous. [+red “All because of some damned radio frequency!”] His teeth were grit, fists clenched, and breathing heavily. Lana's never seen him this mad before, but she herself couldn't help but feel her own rage boiling over at his words. He was acting like this was just some fun outing she had decided to go on with Sara and Ben. Like it was a fucking vacation.
[b “I can't believe how self-righteous you are! I did this for the good of the group! I went because [i you're] too afraid to go in to the cities.”] Lana snaps. [b “For fuck's sake, John, I'm still covered in his blood! I didn't bring Ben along to kill him, so stop acting like it!”]
[+red “Be that as it may, you both literally and figuratively have his blood on your hands.”] John seemed to have simmered down to a more quiet rage. A more dangerous rage. [+red “If he knew he was going to die, what would you have told him before you carted him off? I want to know right now, if one of us, if any of us was staring down the barrel of a gun because we followed you blindly, what would you tell us?”]
And Lana just looked at him, her face returning to its normal stone-like brood as she answered him, her answer already primed. [b “This is war; survival is [i your] responsibility.”] And right then and there, if she hadn't have heard it, she wouldn't have known it happened. A sudden [i smack!] right across the face made Lana's head turn to the side, and shock and anger set in before the pain did. She turns her head back to John, her eyes alight with fury, and it was all she could do not to just jump him and dig her thumbs in to his eyes and tear out his throat with her teeth. John himself was so furious he didn't even see how close he was toting to Lana going ballistic on him.
[+red “This isn't war, Lana! This [i is] survival, and its [i everyone's] responsibility. Including yours. And right now, you're responsible for the death of a kid under our roof. This isn't how we operate and this is [i exactly why] we don't operate like this.”] And it seemed like that's all John had to say about the matter, because he turns his back and begins walking away, the small crowd that had gathered began whispering amongst themselves and dispersing now that tensions seemed to have come back down. They had a member to mourn and jobs to do... But Lana still wasn't finished.
[b “They'll be here in less than three days.”] Lana says to John before he gets too far away. He turns back to face her at the remark. [b “I got a hold of [i them], and they'll be at the airport in less than seventy-three hours whether you like it or not. I'll also be going whether you like it or not.”] She pauses for a moment to let that sink in. He had called her a 'dreamer' for even thinking there was somewhere safe like Alcatraz still around this far in to the end, and now here they were. A way out if they needed it, and considering how many people had been dying and how scarce supplies on the outside were, perhaps this was as best a time as any. [b “We can't stay here forever, that's just reality, so someone needs to be looking out for our group's future. I'm taking the initiative.”] John glares for a moment and turns back away, but Lana takes a few more steps forward. [b “And John?”]
[+red “What?”] He turns around once more. And this time he could see the fury in her eyes that threatened to burn him alive. He could almost [i taste] it.
[b “If you [i ever] touch me again, I don't care how many people are watching, I [i will] kill you.”] She warns, her voice flat but dripping with venom. [i Then] it seemed the conversation was over, John and the group fully dispersing, leaving Lana standing there thinking to herself for a little while longer. When she finally snaps out of it, she turns and looks at Sara, holding up two fingers to indicate the amount of time they had to prepare. She was just assuming the police woman would be joining her because Lana was sure she also didn't want Ben's death to have been in vain.
One way or another, this was going to be a very [i long] few days.
Sara was not usually the type to take to other people. After all, she had been alone for a long time and often found herself lacking in trust when it came to others but regardless of everything she had once stood for, Lana was working her way into her trust and she was beginning to wonder if she [I could] find herself settling with these people. It was obvious that Sara’s skills were useful to them and Lana trusted her. She would not have taken her on this mission if she didn’t and while she initially thought that it didn’t matter to her, she was beginning to realise that she might not have to be alone again. Throughout this whole trip, the two women had each other’s backs. Granted, they also had the annoyance of Ben’s company which had put them both on edge, but she had even started to warm to him.
It was rather silly really. She had only just met the boy, but he had awakened maternal instincts within her that she did not quite understand. Even before chaos swept across the world, she had never shown an interest in having children, never really having a relationship with someone long enough for those discussions to come up. Sara had kept things rather casual when the world was normal, dating men until they wanted to make things more permanent and then she would let them down gently. It was not as though their new situation made her regret any of that either, she was glad that she did not have loved ones to lose because she had seen what that had done to people in the past. The kindest of souls turned cruel while humanity was in demise.
Their pace seemed to slow down when it looked like they were at the edge of the city. The dead had not followed them, and the unexplainable beast had not come into view at any point and she was beginning to think that they would all make it out of this mission alive, then they would just have to deal with John’s anger. That hardly seemed significant in the big picture. Even Ben understood how pissed John would be and she laughed at his words as they approached the end of the alleyway. Their truck was so close now. None of them could have know that their relief would become distress the moment they reached the exit.
Sara was completely startled by the sound created by the smashing of bricks before her. Being at the back meant that she could avoid being knocked over by the impact, but she rushed to Lana’s side and helped her steady herself when she saw her head collide with a hard surface. She was lucky she had not lost consciousness. As soon as her brain started to work again her eyes darted around to find Ben. He was far too close to the creature for her liking.
[b “Ben!”] Her warning came too late because the moment she said his name, his body was launched into the air as though it weighed nothing at all. In the grasp on the undead beast he did not stand a chance and her heart rate was racing fast. He was going to die, and it was their fault for bringing him out here in the first place. [I This] was exactly why she did not allow herself to get attached to other people. Sara wouldn’t be feeling these emotions now if she had not broken one of her only rules. Her shoulders met her ears as the sound of Ben’s body colliding with the concrete echoed around them, both women now covered in the blood of the kid who had been joking with them only moments ago. There was a time when she would have frozen at the sight, unable to move and likely get killed herself, but she had been changed and could not allow herself to feel anything just yet. They needed to get away.
Sara forced her eyes away and looked to Lana who was already screaming and wasting her bullets shooting at him. It was an act of anger and emotion and that was something she had not seen much of from Lana. She was usually so methodical. Even if Sara joined her in shooting the creature, they would not put a dent in him. She had to think fast. That was when she noticed a vehicle just behind the creature. If they could set that alight, it might catch the creature and distract it long enough for the two to make it back to their truck. It was the only option she had. She pulled up her weapon and aimed it at the hood of the car, continually shooting until the bullets penetrated the metal enough to have an impact on the engine. The sound of an explosion replaced the sound of Ben’s body being chewed apart and as hoped, the fire hoped onto the creature, setting fire to its leg.
[b “We [I have] to go now.”] She said, glancing back at the body he dropped to the floor. It wasn’t even a body anymore, just a collection of limbs and entrails. She grabbed hold of Lana’s arm and pulled her with her, climbing over the pile of rubble to slip past the creature. A loud roar could be heard, and the ground started to vibrate around them as it started to chase them. The vehicle was in sight now, they just need to start the engine and get the hell out of there. They had already lost enough today.
It was good that Ben and Sara seemed to be getting along with each other, because Lana wasn't exactly feeling like a people person right now. With all the shit that had piled up today, all she wanted to do was puke and sleep for a week. Despite having gotten in to the radio station and got what needed to be done, she felt surprisingly weary. Even the weapon in her hands felt heavier than normal, and she was used to the weight.
Either or, they saddled up pretty quickly and moved through the building with minimal resistance, quickly exiting out the back. When they had to loop back around the front, they waited a moment, the horde of undead going plowing over the blockade and towards the building. And still then, Lana didn't go and it seemed everyone else was onboard with that idea; waiting for the undead to burst in to the building and create a point for them to exit as the undead spread themselves through the radio station like a cancer. So when the opportunity presented itself, they three of them took it and got away from the station and blockade, continuing on the path they started with... But something still seemed off to Lana, an almost foreboding feeling, and she couldn't place her finger on why. They accomplished their mission and were in the home stretch, what the hell was the deal? She shakes her head at herself, picking up the pace a bit, staying with Sara behind Ben.
The city seemed empty again, save for a few stragglers or undead who had lost their mobility through one way or another. Most of the undead that did move around seemed to have all herded up, which was kind of a surprise. After all of this time, she'd have thought they would've spread outside of the city, but it seemed like maybe they had enough visitors and stimulation where they all hung around. It'd also make sense as to how they herded up so quickly and why there were runners, the fresher undead. Her rule to keep out of the city's was for reasons like this, but it seemed like people were still desperate enough to come in and try to get supplies or loot... She began to wonder if—save for this expedition—they would ever become desperate like that. Their home wasn't exactly perfect, but they had food and water, however delicate those resources may be, but even before the end of the world, your average person was nine missed meals away from doing something they normally wouldn't do... How many missed meals were did they have before they lost what little control they had?
One of the streets was blocked by pile-up, so they detoured through an alleyway, but they were pretty close to getting out of the city now, and Lana began to breathe easier again. And it seemed like they all did. [+blue “Man, wait until John hears about this. He's gonna flip.”] And Lana couldn't help but smile at that as they were approaching the exit of the alleyway. He definitely was going to angry, but you couldn't argue with results. [+blue “I wonder just [i how] much he-”]
And it was almost like a mortar had gone off. One corner of the alleyway blew apart like glass, the force and shower of bricks knocking them to the ground. And Lana must have hit her head on impact, because her vision danced with black blotches and she couldn't hear most of what was going on, just a ringing. She snaps herself out of it relatively quickly, looking up to see the hulking undead from before, its large hand wrapping itself around Ben's leg like he was a doll and reeled back him back just as easily.
In a blink, she was covered in blood, gore, and brain matter, the giant undead having slammed Ben on to the pavement like a whip. His head burst open upon impact with a sickening [i squelch!] And the beast did it two or three more times before it brought Ben's headless corpses to its jaws and tore in to him viciously like a rabid hungry animal.
There wasn't anything Lana could do but scream, her assault rifle coming up upon instinct and she pulled the trigger, showering the monster with the remainder of her weapons magazine. But she knew from before that this wouldn't be anything but a tickle to the beast and now they had bigger problems...
Sara sighed and shook her head towards the young boy. She had to admit that she had warmed to him over the course of the day, even if he had almost ruined their plans at the beginning of it. He wanted to please and he was trying to help them even if it did not always come off in the way. She smirked to herself as she turned away from him, placing the gun on the nearest surface. She was then drawn towards Lana who was now swearing at the machinery that seemingly refused to behave. Sara was about to reach out to stop Ben but she was too slow and she found herself watching the scene unfold before her. Ben was certainly a lot braver when it came to Lana than she expected most to be and she had to hide her smirk when she watched the boy slap away her hand and received the same retort. It was almost like watching children argue over who got to be the one to play with the machine but it seemed that Ben prevailed and soon enough the ridiculous amount of static focused into a clear channel and she looked towards him with a pride that came from nowhere.
When Ben moved away from Lana she placed her hands on his shoulders and offered him a smile to let him know that he had done a good job with both the generator [i and] the radio and even if Lana wouldn’t admit it, it was probably a good job that Ben had sneaked away with them. It was all a waiting game now and it seemed to take forever for them to hear anything other than the sound of silence. Sara also took a moment to inspect their situation before her eyes snapped back to the radio when a voice came through loud and clear. She looked at Ben with a triumphant smile and squeezed his shoulders gently, giving him a celebratory shake. In between listening to the exchange she watched as the undead grew in number but for now the barricade was holding up and doing its job.
While she shared Ben’s concern, she also knew that Lana would never give away their location so freely. Ben looked up at Sara with a concerned look as she gave coordinates, clearly not knowing where that was. Sara did not either, at least not off the top of her head, but she was confident that Lana was not about to put her entire encampment at risk. Sara lowered her voice. [b “That’s not the encampment.”] Her tone was confident and it was enough to reassure the boy as he turned his attention back to Lana and the unknown voice on the radio.
Very quickly, Lana divulged her plan of escape and Ben reached out for the gun that Sara had taken from him and, even though the notion was childish, he smirked towards Sara and poked his tongue out of his mouth as if he had just overturned her decision. It reminded her of how children behaved when they had successful turned two parents against each other and she took her hand and allowed it to tap the back of his head gently. [b “Do that again, I will cut off your tongue.”] She said with a tone that told him she was not joking, even though it was so clearly said in jest. Sara nodded and took a gun of her own, checking it over very quickly before following Lana out of the room towards the back of the building. [b “You better know how to use that smart ass.”]
She made sure Ben was in front of her the entire way and as they made it down the stairs she noticed that a few of the undead had wriggled their way in and were wondering around. Sara took out her knife, digging it into the skulls of three making their way towards them, not wanting to waist their bullets until they really needed to spend them and they kept pushing on. The back of the building was relatively empty aside from a few that seemed to make their way to that side. For now, they took the creatures out quickly and continued to press on, looping around the building quickly to be greeted by the giant horde of undead, still trying to get into the building and it seemed they got out just in time because the barricade broke and many of the creatures filed in which gave them a chance to sneak around without being noticed by many. If they could help it, they wouldn’t use their weapons this close to the tower, not wanting to turn them around but she knew that soon enough they would draw attention to themselves and they would have no other choice.
[b “Keep moving Ben.”] He had slowed down a little and with her words of encouragement he injected speed into his pace once more and as Lana wanted, they moved as a unit as quickly as they could towards their truck.
Frantically flipping switches, moving dials, attaching wires, and pressing buttons, it was lucky that Sara and Ben were the one's who had come up behind Lana, because she was not paying attention to anything except for the console. When it seemed like she was finally done, in one shaky hand she held up a sticky note with a frequency number, and with her other she tried to turn the dial to match it, but clearly because of how hasty she felt, it was giving her grief. [b “Fucking piece of shit!”] She exclaims, just missing the frequency by a few notches each time.
Suddenly Ben was next to her and he reaches over to help, and his hand is promptly slapped away like Lana was a rabid dog. She slaps his hand away again when he tries a second time. [+blue “Lana!”] And she looks at him, a bead of sweat running down her forehead and more began to forms as the screeches and rumblings of the undead grew closer. [+blue “Let me help.”] And he touches the dial, and suddenly there was a straight frequency over the radio systems. Lana breathes out a tense breath, coming to her sense again. She was too preoccupied with the invisible time limit she had created in her head, and the thought that she might have doomed them all. She fully snapped out of it when Ben handed her the transmitter, and she nods in appreciation.
Lana clears her throat. [b “This is Sergeant Major Lana Cutler, does anyone read me?”] She lets go of the button and walks over to the large hole in the wall, looking outside in to the streets below. The undead were funnelling from everywhere much like before, but this time they were stopped by the blockade, only a few being able to slither their way in or get over the top... There was no sign of the hulking undead monster.
[b “This is Sergeant Major Lana Cutler, does anyone read me?”] She repeats in to the mic and waits. The static was was quiet, but suffocating to Lana, especially as she watched the undead numbers continue to grow and their escape becoming less likely.
She was about to toss the radio out the window when, “We read you loud and clear, Major.” And Lana let out and audible sigh of relief, life coming back in to her as she brought the mic back to her mouth.
[b “I'm in charge of a large encampment of survivors in Montana, and I wanted to transport some of them or all of them to you on Alcatraz.”] She tells them and for a moment there was another long silence, only broken by the sounds of the undead below.
“What is your location?” And her heart sank. She couldn't just give them their location. Sure, she wanted the safety and security of their island, but she wanted to vet them herself first...
[+blue You're not going to give them our location are you? What if they're bandits?!”]
They had been silent for a long time because they spoke again. “What is your location, Major? Do you read?” And she watches as more of the undead begin to pile up outside of the blockade, certain sections seizing with the number and weight of them. Time was running out!
[b “Fuck!”] Lana curses off the mic before she clicks the button. [b “48.3077° North, 114.2525° West.”] Glacier Park airport, and one of the only places around here she remembered the longitude and latitude to.
“Copy that. We'll send a scout to meet with you in seventy-two hours.” And with that, Lana rips her radio from the console, quickly stuffing it in to her bag and grabs hold of her weapons. She takes in a deep breath and then swipes a few strands of loose hair out of her face. She'd process and plan for the scout once they got back. For now there were more important things to be done.
[b “They're mostly coming in from the alpha side—the front—of the building.”] She tells the two. It seems like she had her composure back, and this was just another day in the office for her. [b “We'll have less resistance through the back, but it might be a good idea for Ben to have a bigger gun. We're going to have to move out fast and hard, and then loop back around the way we came. We stick together and we move as a unit. Are we on the same page?”] And before anyone can agree or protest, Lana makes for the door of the studio, leading the charge for them to get the hell out of here.
Their celebration was short lived it seemed. The moment they had taken to show their satisfaction at gaining power, it was ripped away from her when that terrible noise hissed through the entire building. They had worked so hard to make their way to the building without attracting too much notice and now that had practically altered ever single dead creature for miles of their presence in this building and she found herself wondering how this would end for them. She looked to Ben who looked equally worried and she shook her head. Soon enough the sound subsided but that did not matter. They had already been altered and unless there was another sound equally as loud from another direction, they would all be focused on that building and travelling towards it.
[b “We should get up to Lana as soon as we can. The dead won’t know where in the building we are unless they see us. The quicker we get up there the safer we will be.”] She wasn’t exactly confident in what she was saying but she made damn sure that Ben believed that she was confident about their survival rate. The last thing she needed was for him to shut down on her. He nodded and with that she placed her hand on his shoulder gently, indicating that he should lead the way, she would be able to keep a better eye on him if he was up front. He did not seem to hesitate even if the fear he felt was apparent upon his face. He had been right about them being sitting ducks but right now the situation could get a lot worse for them if they did not get out of there quick enough.
Soon enough they found themselves near the entrance they had taken and upon inspection, none of the dead had made their way inside yet which meant they had a slight head start. Ben stopped for a moment to catch his breath and Sara grabbed hold of his arm. [b “I’m sorry Ben, but we don’t have time for rest. We need to get to Lana remember?”] She started to move once more, making their way up the building until the reached the place where she assumed Lana was. It was the only room where the door had been left open and she could hear movement inside, but she was not about to take any chances. She held her finger up to her lips and gestured towards Ben to be quiet for a moment as she held her gun up in front of her. If there was something in there she needed to kill, there was no use in being quiet about it now, especially since the dead had already been alerted to the fact that they were there.
Sara moved forward quietly and sighed with relief when she saw Lana flicking switches. [b “Clear.”] She said toward Ben as she entered the room and placed her pistol back in it’s resting place and started to look around the room. Her eyes widened at the sight of bodies with hundreds of bullet holes littered the place.
[I “Holy shit!”] Ben’s voice came from behind her and Sara turned instantly to reprimand him for his use of bad language. She didn’t know why she did it. He was not exactly her child and it wasn’t exactly the same world that they had lived in before. It didn’t change anything though. [I “Sorry but…are you seeing what I am seeing? They are everywhere!”]
[b “Of course I am seeing it! I’m not blind Ben. Just watch yourself. Don’t trip over anything.”] She said, noticing that the floor was also littered with weapons. Lana had clearly helped herself to a weapon and she had every intention of doing the same. After all, they might need them to get out of here.
[I “Oh my GOD. Look at this rifle!”] Ben said picking it up and inspecting it. Once again, Sara was quick to take the weapon out of his hand and gave him a scolding look. [I “Oh come on…why do you get to keep all the good stuff?”]
It was a relief for Lana that Sara didn't protest about taking Ben. For the time being she didn't have the patience to deal with the kid, and sending him off to the basement with Sara was definitely the safer of the two jobs. It as unlikely there would be too many undead or any at all down there, but there was no telling what was in store for Lana as she ascended the floors of the radio station.
With a quick nod of appreciation, Lana splits off from the two and heads up the stairwell next to the defunct elevator. It was back to being eerily quiet, especially without Sara and Ben around; it was funny how accustomed you got to the sounds other people made and how much of a comfort they could be places like this. For the most part, Lana's only company were her quiet footsteps as she moved up the stairwell. Nothing in the dark stirred, nor were there any ominous sounds to make her worry, but that didn't get her to move any faster. She was buying time to let the other find the generator and focused on keeping herself as quiet as possible.
At the second floor, Lana stops, seeing a plaque on the wall and quickly pulls out her flashlight to see what it said. Just some offices and other things that didn't matter to her. It looked like finding the studio was going to be easier than expected because of these, and she thanked whoever or whatever that she didn't have to search for it herself floor by floor. And as she continued her search, as it would have it, the studio was on the fourth floor, second from the top. At this point and with the few setbacks, Lana was eager to walk through the doors and get moving, but something made her stop just before touching the doors...
She crouches down and inspects the door, taking note of several bullet holes in the wood. Blood spattered the ground and seeped through the bottom, and dried on the concrete in to a brownish red stain. Apparently there was a party before this place was abandoned, but with the lack of bodies or scabs shambling around, it was apparent the place didn't get overrun. But it [i did] appear they left in a hurry which explained why the place was a mess. Either or, she had a job to do and wasn't going to let some dried blood and bullet holes stop her. So she pushes on the door, and it doesn't budge. She frowns and then pushes on it some more and it gives a little. There was something in front of the door, but it wasn't heavy enough to stop her from getting in. Lana pushes again and doesn't let up until there's a space for her to slip through, and when she does,
Suddenly she was landing on her hands and knees, and the second she touches the floor, she rolls to her side, her pistol up and pointing behind her. And honestly, she couldn't help but gasp at the sight. In front of her as the body of a soldier laying in front of the door, apparently the recipient of most of the bullets that went through the door and the thing she had tripped on. Quickly she moves to a couching position and surveys the room she was in.
It was a disaster. Blood covered the walls and floors, bullets had ripped through the furniture, doors, and windows, and their were bodies. [i Lots] of bodies. It was no wonder the main floor was vacant of any of the soldiers. Apparently whoever was left was in this room... but what the hell happened? She didn't think she had time to investigate, but the lights weren't on yet, so she decided to take a quick look.
They all still had their weapons, and Lana helped herself to one of their assault rifles. It appeared their was some kind of firefight between all of the soldiers, but she couldn't surmise as to what it was about. Perhaps they were running low on supplies? Mutiny? A divide in command? It was all just speculation, but either or, it all lead to them killing each other. And apparently there was at least one survivor, because someone had taken the time to put a bullet through the head of all of those who had fallen in battle. It just went to remind her that in desperate situations, people are capable of any number of shitty things... A small smile crept on to her face as she thought on that. [i Like she was one to talk.]
Satisfied with what she had found, she checked the assault rifle as she crept towards the back of the studio-turned-commander-centre. It had less than half of a magazine, but they had more back at camp; it was just too bad she couldn't pillage all of the weapons, this would've been a good score... She'd say they could come back later with more people, but the monster outside made her think it was perhaps not worth the risk.
At the back of the room was a door that lead in to the main studio, and once Lana opened it, she almost let out a strong of curses. [i 'It was always one thing after a-fucking-nother!']
The room was trashed in a similar fashion as to the previous room, but this one it appeared an actual grenade must have gone off, blowing part of the wall and large windows out in to the streets below. Not only did that do some damage to the radio equipment in the room, so did the weather. The rain, the snow, the wind. It all got in and she could see where it effected the equipment. It almost appeared like this was a waste of time and effort, but quickly Lana's steely resolve ebbed in and she quickly moves to the equipment. Parts of the bigger pieces of equipment were damaged by either bullets, the grenade going off, or the elements, but because she brought her own radio in the event something like this happened, she could piece it together. So quickly she rips the shit out of what she can and attaches what she could to her own radio. It should still work and only the stuff in here was damaged, the tower dish outside was still intact and all she needed was a signal boost... Or so she told herself. She would only be able to tell if it worked once the power was back on.
And she had to wait what felt like an agonizing amount of time. She took up pacing back and forth in the room before the lights flickered and dimly came on. Something in the equipment sparked, but quickly there was the static hiss of a radio and then feedback... Through the goddamn [i PA] systems! [b “Fuck!”] Lana exclaims and is quickly at the main console, flipping buttons and switches as the loud screech of electricity rips through the quiet just like her gunshot did. After a moment, she was able to cut the power to the PA system, but the damage was already done. The dinner bell had been rung and Lana knew it had just created a time limit for them.
Lana didn't even need to hear the familiar screeches and howls of the undead to know that fact.
Sara took a moment to look around while Lana checked the radio over. This place had once been a functioning base and it was clear that people did not necessarily make it out of here alive or even undead for that matter. There were bodies left lying around the entrance and she had decided to take a moment to check that they were in fact dead rather than having surprises await them while they walked on through the tower, yet this room was empty. No bodies at all. That was either eerily suspicious or everyone managed to get out who was supposed to. Perhaps this place had been raided on more than one occasion. That much was clear by the way the room seemed to have been ripped apart and moved around, almost as though someone had been clumsy while they were looking for something that had been misplaced.
She looked up towards Lana with an affirmative nod when she confirmed that their journey had not been a wasted one. She looked towards Ben now who seemed to question what they were going to do with no electricity. Sara couldn’t help but smile at his lack of knowledge of how these buildings would have worked but in a way, it reminded her that there was still naivety and innocence, even in such a corrupt world. Lana would had known that most buildings like this would have had backup generators, so it made sense that she did not see the barrier that Ben had been so eager to point out with his teenage arrogance. Sara would have agreed with Lana about the most likely destination for the generator and she place her knife in the waistband of her jeans before she started to make a mental layout of the building in her mind. They would need to be at opposite ends to the building and with Ben part of the team, it would certainly complicate matters and they could hardly trust him to stay put and keep to keep an eye on matters here.
Before Lana spoke she knew that she was likely to get the responsibility of looking out for him. One of the reasons being that Lana did not exactly have the patience to keep an eye on his because he had already made a couple of silly decisions on their mission and it was more likely that turning on a generator that had been out for so long might take two people. She wasn’t about to argue with Lana and she was confident that she might be able to find a use for Ben. She smiled towards him and placed her hand on his shoulder to start directing him towards the basement. [b “It’s you and me bud. Come on we have a generator to turn on.”]
Luckily Ben didn’t complain about being stuck with her. The fact that he even had a job at all seemed to feed his ego and kept relatively quiet on the way down to the basement. It was rather uneventful and even though she was slightly relieved that she did not need to save Ben from getting bitten or killed, but Sara was not much for the quiet life. She preferred action and danger. It is what had kept her alive all this time. Danger fuelled her desire to survive and as they approached the basement she couldn’t help but wonder how she would be able to survive if she were to find herself travelling to the old prison island with Lana and her people. Perhaps she wouldn’t go but she did not need to make that decision just yet. The radio needed to work first.
They entered the basement and she turned on the flashlight, taking a moment to take stock of the room. There were two undead creatures walking towards them and she readied her knife. [b “Are you able to take one Ben?”] She was more than capable of taking out two of them, but she needed to see if Ben was able to handle himself. He looked towards her and nodded confidently as he edged towards the creature and he only hesitated for a second before plunging the knife into his skull. Satisfied with his actions, she followed suit, taking out her own walking dead. [b “It doesn’t look like there are any other crawlers in here.”] Sara pointed the flashlight towards the generator and nodded. [b “There it is. You see that lever there, you are going to need to pull that down. It’s probably going to be stiff but it’s so dark in here I need to hold this light steady for you.”]
Ben moved towards the generator and pointed towards the lever and Sara nodded, watching as he pulled down on the lever, but it wasn’t budging. She watched for a minute before letting out a sigh and putting the flashlight in between her teeth and moved towards him and stood behind him, placing her arms over him. [b “Sorry.”] It wasn’t exactly a comfortable position, but she needs to get the best angle, and this was it. [b “Okay, after three…one…two…three.”] With that she put every big of strength into pulling it down and after a couple of minutes of pulling, it finally released itself and there was a burst of sound as lights started to flicker on around them. She smiled and looked towards Ben with a smile. [b “Well done. We officially have power."]
Getting swarmed in after shooting the undead hulk might've been a bit of a blessing in disguise. Other than a few stragglers with inhibited movement, they didn't run in to much interference with the scabs. The only really 'close call' was in the alley, but Sara handled it before it became a problem. From then on, they stayed close to cars, weaving between the large amount of abandoned vehicles up the street from the military blockade... Their were a lot of them and a lot of the cars were riddled with bullet holes. Lana could only imagine what happened here before the place was abandoned.
The trio were within spitting distance of the damaged portion of the blockade when- [i thud! Thud! Thud!] Lana turns to peek her head over the car she was currently plastered too, and when she did, she had to resist the urge to curse out loud. Up the street and looking as mean as ever was the hulking undead monster, clearly looking for three course dinner that got away. With a grimace, she turns back to Ben and Sara, motioning for them to keep going. It was far enough away and they were quiet enough where alerting it wouldn't be an issue, but the thing made Lana extremely uneasy. Her mind still hadn't caught up with the fact that her rifle pissed it off rather than turned its head inside out.
With some more manoeuvring, they make it to the damaged portion of the blast wall. On their flanks was chest high walls of sandbags and cars, so she wasn't currently worried about being seen all that much. The closer they got, the more shit there was laying around that afforded them cover and created barriers. However, just because they were lucky in that regard, Lana didn't think they were out of the woods just yet. So she took a quick look inside the blockade and assessed the building... And as you would imagine, it was quiet and abandoned. Bodies and abandoned materials lay strewn about the area, but other than that, the coast looked clear. So with a wave of her hand, Lana informs them and they all move in to the blockade and beyond.
They crept silently through the dead-zone of the radio station and then in to the building itself, and once they were inside, it was safer for them to talk. Sara was the first one to break the quiet, inquiring about the radio. Lana nods and takes her pack from her back and pulls out the parts of her radio she brought. [b “Still in working order.”] She confirms, putting everything away again.
[+blue “How are you going to get it running? The lights are off and nobody's home.”] Ben points out, and suddenly the station seemed to be more desolate. Designed similar to an office building, a lot of the supplies and furniture were ripped out and moved out of the way haphazardly, creating the appearance of an office themed desolate wasteland. Other than some ominous drips of water somewhere, the building itself was quiet; the kind of quiet that you knew hid something in its silence and shadows... There weren't any bodies laying around, which could either be a good thing or a bad thing in these times.
Despite the obvious flaw Ben pointed out, Lana didn't seem perturbed by it. It was the apocalypse; obviously buildings weren't on a running electrical grid anymore. [b “When the military was here, they would have used generators to keep the building in working order. My guess is its in the basement. The main studio—where I need to get to—is most likely on the top floor or close to the top.”] And this is where it got a little tricky. Sara, Lana would've trusted on her own, but with Ben here, it creates all sort of potential issues in regards to her plans, but he could still be useful to them. More so her partner. [b “Sara, take Ben and go turn on the generator. I'll find out where the main studio is and set-up my radio. After that, we get the hell out of here.”]
Sara was glad that Lana seemed to agree with the best course forward. The last thing they needed right now was for the two of them to be of two different minds. They would need to work together if they were going to get anywhere and she knew that the dead would not be too far behind them. While they were not exactly smart, the could smell them out and it wasn’t exactly hard for them to climb up the stairs and they were not the kind they could have destroyed to protect themselves. Sara glanced over the edge much like Lana and assessed the potential danger just as quickly, but Lana seemed to take the leap first. When she made it safely she looked back at Ben. She was about to suggest that he should go first if the undead made it up here, they would be able to protect him better from the other side having their weapons trained on them. She wouldn’t be able to shoot [I and] run. Without another thought she took a few steps back and worked herself into a sprint before launching herself into the air and landing with ease on the second rooftop.
She looked back at Ben and beckoned him forward, holding out her hand as if she was ready to help him when he started to jump but he was rooted to the spot. Her heart started to quicken slightly. She should have [I made] him go first. If he died now, it would be because of the decision she had made to jump before making sure that he was safe on the other side. As if to add to her anxiety, the doorway to the rooftop burst open and she instantly held up her gun and got ready to shoot. Lana got there first but soon enough there were other runners and Sara helped put a few of them down. Lana was angry, and she shook her head as if to clear her head. [b “Ben you [I have] to jump [I now.] Neither one of us can come over there and get you. You want to prove yourself, now is the time to do it.”] She said and watched, and he seemed to work up the courage to jump. He didn’t give himself enough of a run up though and he almost missed the rooftop. She sprinted to his aid alongside Lana and helped pull him up from the ledge.
Sara kept hold of Ben’s arm as they ran for the next building, this time waiting for him to jump before she did. He did not seem to panic as much this time which was a relief because it he was to slow them down at every rooftop, she didn’t hold out much hope for Lana’s patience. She could still hear the sounds of the creatures roaming below. They had tried to follow them off the rooftop, but most fell to the floor and it wasn’t long before they were trying to follow them from the ground but soon enough they lost them. When they got to the final rooftop they seemed to take a minute to breath and she checked to make sure that Ben was alright.
Sara looked towards the building that Lana pointed at and she took a minute to look it over. It seemed easy enough to get to and to get in, but Ben’s concern was not an unnecessary one. There was no denying that Lana was pissed and with good reason. They had been slowed down by him and they might already be in the radio tower if it had not been for him.
[b “I always have a knife.”] She said as she leaned down to reach for the blade that resided within her boot. [b “You can keep your knife Ben, you might need it.”] With that the three of them started to move towards the fire-escape keeping their movements quiet. Lana had taken the lead out front and Sara wasn’t taking any chances in letting Ben drag behind so she followed up behind. They all made it quietly and soundly into the alleyway and at first glance it all appeared to be relatively quiet but when Ben announced that the coast was clear one of the creatures seemed to crawl out of the bins that sat outside the back of a restaurant. Maggots crawled around in the open flesh wounds on its face and it moved towards them with purpose, but Sara wasn’t about to let it get to any of them, so she took her knife and jammed it into the skull. It let out one last sound and then fell to the floor. [b “After you.”] She said, waiting for Lana to lead the way and when she did, she followed behind, using her hand to encourage Ben to get a move on too. Apparently being that close to one of them had given him a little bit of a fright.
They managed to reach their destination without much hassle. There were a few stragglers and between them they had managed to take them out with much effort and they entered the building via the damaged blockade. For now, they were safe and back on plan. [b “I’m guessing that the equipment we need is going to be in one of those rooms. Is the radio still working…as much as it has before I mean?”]
They ran up the stairs and on to the roof, and apparently just in the nick of time. She could heard the metal tear and burst from the final blow of the monster which was quickly followed by the wails and moans of following undead. It seems that all of the noise had gathered quite a few of them, and Lana wasn't intent on seeing if they had enough bullets to stop them all.
Like Sara, Lana glanced around for the best path of escape, and the police woman quickly pointed out the roofs were close enough together for them to jump. It was definitely the best option they had right now, and with the screeches and rumbling that was getting closer from below, she wasn't about to try and get a second opinion. However, she stops for a quick second to look before she literally leapt. If one of them fell, it was unlikely that they would die from the impact, but legs would be broken or at least injured and death would follow shortly in the form of gnashing and rotting teeth. With that imagery in mind, Lana takes a few more steps back before breaking in to a sprint and leaping to the next building. She almost hits the roof hard enough to fall, but quickly gains her balance, whirling to look over the other-side. Sara came over without much issue, but Ben...
[b “Don't just stand there, you idiot! Jump!”] Lana shouts as Ben looks over the edge like a weary cat. What the hell was he waiting for!
He quickly looks up to them across the way, his eyes were as big as saucers. [i 'Shit.'] [+blue “I'm afraid of heights!”] He shouts across from them. A screech comes from the doorway to the roof and Lana curses under her breath. The first of the undead, a runner, comes barrelling up and towards Ben's turned back. Lana's pistol comes up and she quickly puts a bullet through its eye.
[b “God-fucking-dammit, Ben! Just jump!”] She shouts, shooting two more undead that clambered out of the roof's door. You'd think he would be more scared of being torn apart and eaten alive than of heights. [i Blam!] another scab put to final rest. Her fury increased as she could hear more. [b “Jump, Ben! Now! I swear to God I will fucking leave you here!”] And it seemed it was either that or the three more undead that sprang from the doorway, but he finally broke off in to a sprint, jumped, and- [b “Shit!”] He hits the ledge of the building with his torso, grasping for the edge of the roof, his pistol tumbling from his hands and in to the streets below. Lana quickly was at the ledge, pulling the boy up, and either with Sara's help or he covering them from the undead plummeting to the streets below, Ben is pulled on to the roof. And without much time for them to process what happened, Lana yanks Ben to his feet and they quickly run for the edge of this building and the next, this time Ben only slightly hesitating to jump. For the most part, they lost the undead as they tried to follow and fell to the streets and alleys below.
However, soon enough, they reach the end of their proverbial rope. The edge of the last building that overlooked an intersection below. Fortunately for them, this one conveniently had a fire-escape that lead in to the alley and from here, she recognized the street signs [i and], [b “There.”] She points down the street. It was a wide triangular building that was a few stories higher than the others around it. Despite it being partially concealed by the other buildings around it, you could see the cement and barbed wire blockade a street up from it that was made as a defensive perimeter by the military. Part of the cement blockade was missing, but that would be their ticket in... They'd just have to move fast and quietly with the undead on alert. [b “That's the radio station. One of the blockades is damaged enough for us to get in, so that's how we'll make our entrance.”] Lana points out before slinging the rifle from her shoulder and unholstering her pistol. She performs a very quick but thorough weapons check, and made sure she wasn't low on ammunition.
[+blue “If we go inside, won't the dead follow us in? We'll be sitting ducks!”] And Lana tuns on him, her face contorted with fury. She was still pissed at him for him tagging along and hindering them. He did have a good point though, but one that could be easily manoeuvred around.
[b “That's why we're going to sneak around a bit and then get in. The Scabs aren't smart and they've lost visual contact with us. So if we keep it quiet and keep out of sight, we'll be perfectly fine. Do you think you can do that or should we just leave you up here?”]
He throws his hands up defensively in front of him. [+blue “No, no, I can do it. I got it, I got it.”]
[b “Good. Just keep your mouth shut and let the adults do the work.”] She gives him a quick pat on the shoulder before turning to Sara. [b “We stick to the plan. Do you have a knife? We're gonna have to go in quietly.”]
[+blue “I have a knife if you need it.”] Ben chimes in and Lana ignores him.
[b “Lets get a move on, I think we've been here long enough.”] She says before moving to the fire-escape. She quickly climbs down the steps and lowers the ladder quietly before hitting the ground of the alley. They were in the clear for now, but you never knew what was hiding between or under cars, inside the doorways of buildings, or in any crevice. They'd have to keep their eyes and ears peeled for any sign of the undead as they made their way to the military blockade. So Lana pulls out her combat knife and waits for the others before proceeding towards the radio station.
Sara wished that she had taken the time to check their weapons before they left the encampment. Neither of them could have known what awaited them when they arrived here in the city and they should have prepared for every scenario. Even if they hadn’t come across one of these beastly creatures they might have come across a fast heard and all they had were their guns to protect them. Next time. She thought, knowing that it was likely Lana was kicking herself for the same thing. Either way, for now they had the warehouse for temporary protection and the three of them ran as fast as they could for the entrance. Their only saving grace was that the size of the thing slowed it down and they had the advantage over the rest of the runner.
Sara watched as Lana stopped to open the door and she grabbed hold of Ben, gently pushing him in front of her so that he was safe inside and she shot past Lana so that she was safely inside but she took out her weapon and help Lana shoot some of them down so that they had time to shut the doors without any of them getting inside. She took a step back so that Lana could pull the door down and her shoulder tensed slightly as the loud crash would be sure to attract more and more of those things. There was a moment of uncertainty as they waited to see if the doors would hold. Sara looked over towards Ben who seemed to take a minute to catch his breath. Sara had been used to running so much within her job and she never let her stamina drop in this new world. She simply needed a minute to breathe.
She placed her hands on his hips and took a step back when it was clear the giant beast had made it towards the door. She nodded as Lana spoke and she knew that they needed to get moving from there quickly. [b “Come on Ben, you’ve had your breather. We need to get up there before they get in.”] She said, taking hold of his arm to help him to his feet. [b “Are you alright?”] She asked momentarily and when he nodded she smiled. [b “Good.”] Sara checked her own weapon and looked towards Lana before she started to move. The door was being bent inwards with every single movement and they only had a matter of time to get off the warehouse floor.
Sara let Ben go ahead of her so that she could keep an eye on him and she followed him towards the roof. By the time they reached the top they heard the loud crash of the door finally caving in, following by the whaling and screeches of the undead below them. Outside, she did not hesitate to look around for the best route. The next building was close enough for them to jump and it would put some more distance between them and the dead. [b “We could use the rooftops to get further into the city, they are built so closely together. I reckon we could get a few blocks over before we have to descend to the streets again.”]
Lana was pretty preoccupied with all of her thoughts as they ran for their lives and the hulking monster and its entourage chased after them. How was it still alive? She hit it, she [i knew] she hit it, she [i saw] it! Lana's marksmanship skills were exceptional. Her rifle, and her weapon of choice was her 110 BA, and the thing could punch through military-grade body armour at 1000 metres! They were much closer than that, [i much closer]. What the hell was this monster? There's no way it could still be standing!
Her mind ran amok, and she was essentially on auto-pilot until Sara shouted at her. It brought her back just in time, because she almost missed the turn to the warehouse that the police woman pointed out. It took her a moment to get her rhythm back, but when she did, her rife was slung back on to her shoulder and her pistol was retrieved from her hip holster. [b “No grenades.”] She didn't think she would need them and left them back at camp. This was definitely one of those situations where next time she'd come toting around some grenades even if she felt like she didn't need them. [i If] there was a next time, that is.
They reached the warehouse, and instead of running in herself, Lana stops just in front of the open bay doors as Ben and Sara shoot passed her. Lana's pistol comes up and she takes a few shots at the faster undead coming their way, putting them down with ease before spinning inside and off to the side of the door. She kicks the mechanism of the bay-door and it quickly drops to the ground with a loud metal [i crash!] It didn't take long before there were the sounds of the undead on the other side, wailing and banging on the metallic doors... and it wouldn't take long until the big one showed up either and she didn't want to see if this door could stand up to its strength. Bay doors were made of steel or aluminum, and only one of those would stand a chance, and she wasn't going to stand around to find out.
[+blue “At least we can take a breather here.”] Ben says, crouching down and huffing. Lana scowls at that and quickly takes a look at their surroundings. They were in some kind of storage warehouse for auto-parts. It had large shelves stacked with skids all the way to the ceiling, and had a catwalk lining all sides above them. [i 'Good.'] She thought. It meant that this place had a roof access and they could get out of here. She would be damned if she was going to die in a warehouse. If she was going to die, it would be on her own terms and preferably somewhere peaceful like a nice park.
There was a sudden [i slam!] on the bay door, and the metal warped inwards. Then there was another blow followed by a furious roar. [b “The doors are made of steel.”] Lana points out mostly to herself. If it was aluminum, they would've been in way more trouble. She turns back to the two. [b “It won't hold the thing off for long.”] She points out as it slams in to the doors again, the metal buckling. [b “I say we get to the roof. Either we can hop over to the next building or take a fire escape down to street level if available.”] Lana then does a quick weapons check, re-chambering her pistol. [b “Lets get a move on.”]
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