It was certainly going to make things more difficult for the ladies now that they had Ben to look out for. Sara, too, thought they should have left while the darkness of early morning was still upon them but there was not much they could do about that now. Ben was with them and they would have to adapt in order for them to complete their missions [I and] keep the boy safe. They had not been left with much of a choice in the end because she figured that if John found out they were coming out here he might have followed them or tried to stop them. She was not sure if Lana had ever brought this place up to John, nor did she know how he felt about it if she had brought it up. From the little time she had spent at their encampment, she could tell that many seemed happy and settled there and would be disturbed by the idea of uprooting and moving to somewhere. The journey itself could have been dangerous and some were not prepared to risk the temporary safety of their walls.
Sara knew all too well what it was like to realise that the safety created inside strong walls was only temporary. Any array of things could happen. Bandits could storm the camp, killing everyone and taking everything. A herd could easily make their way into the walls one way or another and it would have been hard for any encampment to fight off a herd, no matter how prepared they might be. She shook her head as if to shake the thoughts from her mind as they made their way into the city without any problems. She hoped that was simply a sign of things to come but she knew better than most that the city was never a safe place to be. The creatures that could be found lurking here were completely different than anything most would have encountered out in the towns or the countryside.
Sara glanced around towards Ben to check that he was keeping up alright before she focused on the scene before her. The city seemed quiet but that did not mean that it would be. They would need to be on high alert to ensure that they could make it out of here alive. He remembered what it was like when the cities were full of people, bustles of workers and tourists making their way through the streets towards work places, coffee shops and homes. Sara had once protected a city such as this, but that time was far behind them now. Now she had to protect herself and the small company that she kept. It was strange how quickly she had turned against her own agreement to look out for herself only.
Her eyes narrowed slightly as she caught side of some movement in the distance. She did not quite know what she was seeing at first. She was about to take a step forward so that she could get a better view, but Lana’s arm stopped her from moving. What she was seeing here was a creature she had not come across in a long time. She had seen only one creature like this before and even then, she remembered how difficult it was for her to kill one of them. Back then she had a team of people around her aiming their weapons for its head and it took a significant number of bullets for it to finally fall to its knees. It would be best for all of them if there was a way of avoiding this creature because she doubted that they had the manpower to kill it.
Sara looked back at Ben and then glanced towards Lana. It was then that she looked towards the creature again and she noticed that it had caught sight of them. [I Shit!] The ground beneath them trembled and she readied her weapon but knew their only option would be to run and give themselves more distance. She wanted to stop Lana from shooting the creature, but she was too late. Sara didn’t need to be told more than once to get moving. She grabbed hold of Ben’s hand as he seemed frozen to the spot and started to run as more and more undead started to make their way towards them.
Her breath was heavy, and she thought that this might be the end of it for all of them, but she would not allow herself to think like that. [b “Lana we have about twenty of these fuckers on our ass. Don’t suppose you have a grenade or anything other than a gun in that bag of yours, do you?”] She asked as she glanced to her left. [b “Over there!”] She said as she caught sight of a building that used to act as a warehouse. Their only option was to go in there and seal the metal door and pray that there were no crawlers in there.
With Sara telling her she was ready, Lana nods and jumps out of the vehicle, quickly collecting her equipment. Ben gathers what he can and follows the two women, keeping quiet for the time being. It was quite clear that Lana was annoyed by his being here, but there really wasn't much she could do about it. She probably should've had more solid plans in case something like this happened... Maybe they should've left a little earlier, then there would have been more time to have tied and gagged Ben in the barn and left him there for someone to find. Next time, next time.
They enter the city without much of an issue, there were only a few undead that they encountered but were able to avoid. Luckily for them the apocalypse had happened some time ago, so a lot of the Scabs in this area weren't recently turned, so their vocal cords and limbs weren't as efficient as those who were newly turned. She shuddered at the memory of the first few months of the apocalypse when literally every Scab could run and how horrifying and deadly that was. Now you'd only ever encounter one or two runners at a time rather than a whole mob. Another plus from that though is a lot of them spread themselves out that way, so Lana wasn't expecting too much congestion in the city either.
The streets of the city were empty save for abandoned cars and garbage. They had been walking for a little bit now and were getting close to mid-city. The buildings around them were silent and the way the wind whistled through their peaks made Lana feel uneasy. By this point she had been expecting to come across more interference from the dead, but other than a few shamblers that they could easily avoid without drawing attention to themselves, it was pretty uneventful. At this rate they would make it to the radio station quicker than she had anticipated, but she tried to keep that idea out of her head. There was still plenty of distance to cover, and therefore plenty of time for things to go wrong.
Either or, it was eerily quiet, especially since its been a long time since Lana had been in a city. The last time was a little after the outbreak first began, but the time she was mostly thinking of is when it first started. She still and nightmares of that mess... Climbing over hills of bodies only for them all to get back up and rip people apart moments after. Crawling through literal rivers of blood. Nothing but howls and screams and-
[+blue “Lana?”] Ben asks and Lana quickly looks over to him. He had stopped and was pointing up ahead of them. Lana stopped and put her hand out to stop Sara. [+blue “Do you see that?”] And she squinted to where he was pointing. It was about three streets up, and what appeared to be a flipped armoured car that crashed in to the side of a high-rise. Whatever it was that Ben was pointing at was mostly blocked because of the corner and the vehicle, but she could see what looked like swaying. Damn her eyesight, but it must've been material that got caught between the two things... But it swayed some more and... was that an arm? It looked impossibly big. And before she could squint some more at it, whatever [i it] was rounded the corner.
Down the streets and directly in front of them now was something that had to be between eight to ten feet tall, towering over immobile vehicles in both length and girth. Its muscles were so large whatever clothes it had been wearing before it turned were barely holding on, cutting in to undead flesh like barbed wire. Its skin was a rotting grey colour while its eyes were a milky white like most undead. And its mouth had been stripped clean of flesh, only showing gnarled and yellow teeth plunged in to nearly black gums, a permanent sneer on its ghastly grotesque face.
[+blue “I-i-i-i-is...”] Ben Swallows, regaining some composure. [+blue “Is this why we don't go in to the cities?”] The thing turned more towards them and began walking their way, but Lana could see its muscles ripple. It was going to start charging at them. With a practised and mechanical grace, Lana's rife was off of her shoulder, in her hands, and aimed towards the hulking monster before it could gain any real speed.
[b “Yes.”] Lana responds, although she had never seen anything like this monster before and knew they would have to kill it. She didn't want to fire a gun in the city, but this thing left them no choice. It would bulldoze through them with size alone and rip them apart like they were nothing. Its fucking [i hand] could wrap around her chest!
The thing began to pick up a little more speed, the ground trembling beneath its mass with each quickening step, and that's when Lana fired her rifle. The loud boom ripped through the silence of the quiet city, stirring birds and other animals. And the undead.
The bullet hit the monster square in the face, ripping a chunk of its flesh from where its eyebrow used to be... Other than that, it did nothing. The monster slowed down a step or two, looked at the group with a very human fury and then let out a roar that was almost as loud as her rifle before beginning to advance towards them again. Accompanied by the roar and her gunshot was the moan, screams, and wails of other undead scattered throughout the city, and considering how much blowback was coming their way [i and] that the hulking undead monster was just [i irritated] by her shot made her think that perhaps simply running would've been more worth it. [i 'No time like the present.']
Lana turns, shoving Sara's shoulder to get her moving. [b “Run!”] She shouts before beginning to run herself. They needed to get somewhere to hide before this monster gained more speed and killed them all, but they were so close to getting to the radio station! There had to be another way there, and there had to be a way out of this. She just needed time to think, but it didn't seem like they were going to get any as more undead became to crawl out out of the woodwork.
It didn’t seem to matter to her that they did not have enough pillows to lay between them. It wasn’t the first time she had bunked with another person and in such a world small things like this did not seem to matter. Sara knew there were bigger things to be worried about and she ignored the slight movement of the mattress as Lana climbed on to the bed. There was a silence between them and for a moment she wondered if she was already asleep but when her voice cut through she glanced over towards her.
[b “Will do. Sleep well.”] As soon as the lights went out she found herself closing her eyes and willed herself to sleep knowing that Lana was not simply saying that their day would be a long one tomorrow. Not only would their mission be a secretive one, but they could come across anything outside of these walls and both of them would need be on high alert. She didn’t find it too difficult to fall asleep, especially since she finally had a bed to sleep on. Sara had been used to sleeping in doorways, on floors and on the odd occasion that she found herself in a old housing community, she would spend the night in a real bed.
Her night was dreamless, mostly because she had learned to sleep lightly in case she had to be alert quickly and she found herself slightly startled bu the light touch on her shoulder. For a split second she forgot that she had shared the bed with another but as soon as her eyes shot open and took in the sight of Lana she allowed the adrenaline spike to come back down to its normal level and she nodded. After stretching her arms above her head she started to make a move from the bed so that she could gather whatever she might need. She had found something slightly warmer to pull over her head to fight the chill of the outdoors. She checked her weapons over and secured them in their usual resting place and gratefully took some of the MRE bars that Lana handed over to her. She placed one in her mouth so that she could keep it separate from the rest so that she could place the rest in her bag. They didn’t know how long they would be out for so it made sense for them to have supplies should they need them.
Soon enough they were heading out of the building towards the familiar van. Sara climbed into one side of the van while Lana climbed into the drivers side and the two of them thought that they had managed to get away without anyone seeing them but when she heard a male voice her head snapped up and turned towards the direction of the voice. [i Shit.] Sara’s eyes widened the most she saw Lana pull the pistol out of the boy. While she knew that she had no intention of drawing attention to themselves by shooting a gun, it was surprising to observe. For a moment, Lana met her eyes with her own and that was when they both knew that they would need to take Ben with them. That meant that they now had someone inexperienced to look out for which could make things difficult for them if they came up against anything unexpected.
Once Ben climbed into the van, Lana did not hesitate to start the van. It was clear by what Ben had said that John didn’t know anything about this outing and he definitely wouldn’t approve of it but that was none of her business. She knew nothing of their relationship and certainly didn’t want to ask any questions. It wasn’t until the car stopped later that there was any conversation exchanged between them. Sara turned towards Lana and glanced over the map as she pointed out important things for their route and when Ben spoke her she turned to look at him.
[b “I’m sure there is a reason for that.”] she turned back to Lana. [b “Well we certainly can’t leave him here. I’m ready.”] As if to prove it she climbed out of the truck and secured her bag in place, waiting for company on the side of the road.
Lana did much the same. Sara would find the other woman waiting outside of the bathroom, and once she left, Lana went in and took her turn. She washes up a little bit before staring down at the sink for a few minutes. For the time being Lana found it a little hard to look in the mirror. After she was done, she returns to the bedroom, picking a side of the bed and laying down in it. However, it seemed they didn't have enough pillows as Lana had hoped, so she couldn't put one in between them. She wasn't about to forfeit a pillow of hers nor was she going to make Sara give up one just to separate them. Whatever, this was temporary.
Lana stared at the ceiling for a while before speaking. [b “Try to get some sleep; we have a big day tomorrow.”] And with that, she rolls over and turns out the lamp light and tries to get some sleep. It proved to be a little harder than she expected though; Lana liked to toss and turn a lot before she slept, and its been a very long time since she shared a bed with someone. It almost felt like a lifetime ago when she shared just two sheets on the floor with three other people trying to keep warm. Surprisingly enough she could sleep easily back then, but its probably just been so long on her own now. It was just one night, it wouldn't be so difficult.
And soon enough, she was asleep and morning came in a wink. The blinds in her room's window was drawn down, but by the little light that seeped in, she knew it was just the crack of dawn. The people who would want to stop Lana and Sara's outing would still be asleep, and the people who were up would be none the wiser.
Rolling over, Lana touches Sara's shoulder and lightly shakes her. [b “We need to get a move on.”] She tells the girl before getting her things together. It was rather fast, considering she strategically kept a lot of the gear from their operation the night prior, and a lot of the equipment they might need would still be in the jeep. The hardest part of this morning having a sufficient supply of food in case this mission took longer than anticipated or went sideways. Luckily for Lana, her lack of trust gave her certain... [i compulsions]. And from under her bed she pulled out a small cardboard box full of MRE bars. Of course she didn't [i steal] them, but every now and again when she was entitled to an extra one or two, she would stow it away for an occasion just like this one. Or if she ever had to bug out. She may be committed to these people, happily being the leader because one was needed, but in the end she knew she could only trust herself if everything went to Hell. It was better to be prepared for the worst than assuming the best, especially in a world like this.
After dressing in something warm, grabbing the important parts of her radio, and some notes, she gives Sara a few bars for their journey, gobbling one down as they make their way towards the same jeep they used last night. On their way, they didn't meet anyone who offered them any resistance, and once they were actually at the jeep, no one seemed to care to be around. She peaks in the window and sees that the equipment they had brought with them still rested on the floor in the back, but the packs in the bed had been taken for obvious reasons. That was fine, they still had more than enough equipment for their trip and they had the equipment they kept themselves as well. Lana opened the door and was about to hop in the driver's seat when—
[+blue “Going somewhere?”] And Lana whirls around to see Ben standing a few feet away from them. [+blue “No one told me you guys were leaving today. Does John know?”] He asks and when Lana narrows her eyes at the boy, he looks surprised. And it seemed his surprise leapt in to his voice as well. [+blue “You mean you guys are—”] And Lana pulls her pistol from her hip holster, keeping it at hip level, aiming it at Ben.
[b “Shut. [i Up.]”] Lana commanded in a harsh whisper. Her eyes traced to Sara and then back to Ben who was frozen in place. She didn't plan on shooting him as much as he made her want to, but she couldn't exactly leave him here either. He'd tell John and then this would become a bigger ordeal than it needed to be. She had half a mind to tie him up and gag him somewhere, but knowing Ben he'd weasel his way out and still warn John before the sun fully came up... So... She motions the gun at the jeep. [b “Get in the back.”]
[+blue “What? But I—”]
[b “I said get in the back, Ben!”] Her voice was bordering on a shout, but she kept it down as to not draw any attention to them. Their timing was pivotal, and she couldn't have him wasting it. She jerked her gun towards the jeep again and Ben climbed in to the back, Lana climbing in to the driver's seat before backing the three of them out on to the road. Sara might judge her for this, but making sure John wasn't aware of her departing right away was important. He would know exactly what she was up to and knew exactly how to stop her. With enough of a head start, he wouldn't try; he'd just get mad at her when she came back.
Lana was mostly silent for the car ride as one would imagine, but soon enough a city could be seen in the distance. When they were just outside of it, Lana pulled over near some trees that hid them from the main road. [b “We'll go in the city by foot.”] She finally says, pulling out a map and pointing at a placed marked on it. Some areas were scribbled out in either red or black marker, but it seemed like there was a clear way to the radio station, the only problem? It was in the middle of the city. When Lana said it was in the middle of Billings she wasn't kidding.
[+blue “You told us never to go in to the big cities.”] Ben chimed in and Lana gave him a sharp look. He rolls his eyes and starts fiddling with one of the packs left in the back. Lana then turns her attention to Sara.
[b “Unfortunately we have to bring him with us. We'll have to keep an extra careful eye out now; I hope you're ready.”]
Sara was beginning to wonder whether purposely trying to be alone made sense at all now that she had the opportunity to potentially find a place amongst the people here at this encampment, although, she didn’t want to say anything just in case she misread the situation and that Lana simply wanted someone to help her to find permanent safety for her people. Sara understood exactly why Lana wanted to find somewhere with more stability. She knew all too well how easy it was to lose everything you thought safe. Her very first encampment was very similar to this one and she had established a life there but when it got taken over by bandits she was the only one who made it out of there alive. It was all because they trusted a newcomer so easily. He was the one who led the bandits to them and took over the camp and the resources with it. There was nothing more she could have done to protect their resources and the people of the camp.
Sara bit the inside of her lip as if the sharp pain of it might stop her thoughts from delving deeper into that memory. She reached out and took another piece of bread and nibbles on it while she listening to Lana explaining what it was that they needed to do. It seemed that they needed to boost the signal rather than find parts for her current one and that was definitely easier than trying to find parts for bits of technology. She nodded as she thought about it. The place could be abandoned or it could be crawling with the dead so the two of them would need a pretty air tight plan for them to make sure they didn’t get overrun and lose their lives to one of them because they were unprepared. That was, assuming that the two of them would be the only ones going out there. Lana didn’t seem like the kind of person who would want to include too many people and she wouldn’t be surprised if she faced some opposition to the idea. Sara knew all too well how some people felt about uprooting when they were so sure than they were safe where they were.
[b “I just need to use a bathroom.”] She found her way there and got herself washed up and looked at her appearance in the old mirror above the sink and she let out a sigh. [b “Seems your days of being alone is over.”] Her voice came out in a whisper and she turned away from the mirror and started to turn back towards the bedroom and made her way over to the bed and made herself comfortable before staring up at the ceiling.
Lana couldn't help the content smile when Sara agreed to help her with the radio. The people in the encampment who had some authority all disagreed with her on this, but she knew it was because they didn't want to give up what they had here. She could understand; this encampment was important to her and even the people were, but she had to be the realistic one. If this place was sustainable and more secure then she wouldn't be looking for other alternatives in the first place. They were well-hidden, but all it took was [i one] person or scab to find this place to make it buckle under its own weight.
[b “What I need is to get a better frequency and to increase its power for more range.”] Lana tells Sara, eating another piece of breed and hummus. She was sure her new lady friend wasn't going to like this next part. [b “There's a radio station in the middle of Billings and when the attack first happened it got fortified in to a fortress by the military. Its more than likely they're all gone by now and its abandoned, the city itself has been quiet for some time now, so I'm not too worried about any opposition inside. If we can hook up my radio to something then we can make it work.”] It seemed like a pretty simple in and out kind of mission, and just like the last one they went on, it wasn't one many people were going to know about... Actually, if Lana had it her way, only the two of them would know about it. Lana herself would do this in her own company, but it was just luck that Sara had happened to join them. Although Lana was confident in her own skills, she wasn't going to kid herself when it came to strength in numbers and having someone watch your back.
At this point Lana figured she said all that needed saying and the rest would be their actions. For the moment, the only distressing thing was finding a place for Sara to stay. They had the barn, but that wasn't exactly welcoming with all the animals and the smells. And at the moment they didn't have any free rooms in the house or any of the campers or tents... Plus, it'd be a little harder to whisk Sara away in the early hours of the morning if she was bunked with other people who could act as potential witnesses... Lana glances passed Sara at the bed and frowns a little bit. [b “For the time being, I say we get some rest. Its been an eventful day so we'll head out in the morning. Until we can find somewhere for you to stay on site, you'll bunk with me...”] She looks suddenly more detached; the usual Lana. [b “We'll put a pillow between us or something... If you have anything you need to do before sleep, go do it now; I'm going to do the same.”]
The rest of the drive back to their home was quiet and Sara didn’t want to break that silence, knowing that they all had a lot of process. Whilst the people in the back of the truck had been saved, there had been a significant amount of loss experienced by these people and she was sure that Lana would take it rather personally that she had not been able to get there in time to save them all. She kept her thoughts to herself though, occasionally glancing around at the people in the back of the truck until they arrived at their encampment and she waited until the vehicle came to a halt for her to help those who were too weak or injured to climb out of the back of the truck.
Lana seemed to be back to herself, barking orders at people so that they could get settled back in quickly and Ben had come around the back of the truck to help with the man who had sustained some more serious injuries. She gave him a nod as she helped him out of the truck alongside him before watching to two walk off, probably towards and infirmary of some kind. She remained stood in the back of the truck for a moment and let out a sigh. She would soon be leaving the encampment and getting back to her life of solitude, but this had definitely been a welcome break from her lonely existence.
She was snapped out of her thoughts when Lana appeared at the rear of the truck and helped her out. Sara simply nodded as the woman thanked her once more for her assistance and she looked around for a moment as if to take one last look at the encampment before she was sent on her way. Sara shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. [b “I don’t have a base or a home if that’s what you mean? I keep moving. That’s how it’s always been for me.”] She said without an ounce of sorrow in her tone. It was what she had become accustomed to and it was what she expected to continue doing after this little side adventure.
She had expected Lana to let her leave, not wanting another mouth to feed or needing to find shelter for another person but it seemed that the time of day meant that she would insist that she should stay for the night and deep down, Sara was glad she didn’t have to find somewhere for the night in the dark. So, without hesitation or argument, she followed Lana back to the house she had been taken when she fixed her up earlier that day. She had expected the woman to lead her to somewhere for her to get a good night sleep before being sent in her way in the morning but when she opened the door she was greeted with something else. It almost looked like her detective office from back in the day. Pins and string leading from different locations on the map and a desk where one might do most of their thinking and she couldn’t help but smile at the memory of her doing the same when she was working cases that she found challenging.
Sara watched as Lana started to eat the food they had picked up on the way and nodded towards her as she motioned for her to eat too. As she took some of the bread, she listened to the woman begin to explain what they were doing in this room. She laughed inwardly as she began to explain that if she tried to tell anyone what she was about to say, no one would believe her, and she nodded as she ate the bread to let the woman know that she understood.
When Lana mentioned San Francisco, her interest was heightened. Now she knew that San Francisco was [I not] a paradise. She had been there only a few months ago and everything was destroyed, and she found no evidence of human life there. Only the dead but she wasn’t about the interrupt her. She kept listening and showing intrigue but when she mentioned Alcatraz island, things began to make sense to her. It had been strange that she had no bumped into one living person in San Francisco. In such a big city she would have expected an encampment much like this one, but she had not seen any evidence of such. If they had all made it out to Alcatraz, that would make sense.
Sara could see the sense in what she was saying and it definitely seemed like a good idea. What she didn’t expect was for Lana to ask Sara to be a part of this. She held onto the piece of bread that she was about to put in her mouth and waited a moment as she thought things through. Maybe now was the time to start thinking about the best way to stay alive rather than the best way to stay alone.
[b “What exactly do you need for a better radio?”] She asked as if that was her answer to her proposal.
The drive back was relatively quiet as one would expect from Lana. She sat looking out the window, letting thee events that just transpired percolate as the dark surroundings whipped by. Every now and again they would hear the howl of a scab that had been attracted to by the flare, and Lana had to suppress the small feelings of vindication she had. If she had it her way, she'd have went to war with those sons of bitches, but that was a reactive response... Well, to be fair, letting off a flare was also a little reactive on her part as well, but it also worked to cover their escape. It all worked out in the end, and they had no idea who hit them.
They came back to the encampment just as fast as they left, it was nearly impossible to see in the dark because of all the trees, and they had tactically placed a lot of the camper vehicles to act as a barricade for escaping light. Quickly Lana was out of the vehicle, pointing to people and ordering them around to help. She had John buzz off to explain some of the situation to the people who needed to know that some of their crew had been dead. Ben came in and before he could say anything, she redirected him to help Henry out of the truck and tend to his wounds or find someone who would and oversee them. She didn't want to deal with him right now; she wanted something to eat, get dry, and sleep.
However, instead of just running off in to whatever she pleased she lingered and helped Sara out of the truck again. [b “Again, thanks for the help.”] She paused for a second, looking at Sara as if searching. [b “I'm assuming you don't have anywhere to stay or at least anywhere close-by, correct?”] She beckons the woman to follow her again, and they head back to the house from before. On the way they pick up a loaf of freshly made bread and hummus. They ate a lot of bread, hummus, and soup around here. But once that quick errand was done, she brings Sara back to the house, but instead of bringing her upstairs to the 'war room' like last time, she brings her to one of the closed doors on the main floor, unlocking it, opening it up, and flips on the lights.
It shared a lot of similar qualities from the war room. Not a lot of furnishing, lots of what appeared to be in the bedroom had previously been stripped and ripped, and on one wall there was a large map with pins and string hung up, but in a different fashion from the war room. There was also a bed pushed far off to the side to maximize the space. There was also a desk in front of the map with a ham radio. Lana quickly sits at the desk, pulling a knife from the drawer and starts carving in to the bread, dipping it in the hummus and then eating it. She motions for Sara to partake in the food with her.
[b “I have a secret to share with you, one that only a very few people know about me.”] She nods at the map and it appeared to be a map of the country, then of California, particularly San Francisco. There were also some sticky notes with unintelligible numbers and a mess of words on them. [b “You're not from around here so I know you won't say anything, and plus,”] She turns to look at Sara and smirks ever so slightly. [b “No one would ever believe you.”] She takes another piece of bread and hummus and eats it.
[b “There's a place in San Francisco that has been said to be a paradise during this End of the World. I've been able to contact it a few times every now and again, but my radio is old and as you can imagine, long distance transmissions are hard to make happen or receive.”] And here came the crazy part. [b “Its on Alcatraz island, totally surrounded on all sides by water, and the prison building is still sustained and sustainable... I was told it was crazy to even think we could get out there, but after encountering those bandits I got to thinking on perhaps it was worth the risk. Its not sustainable here, we have more mouths to feed than we can afford and supplies around this area are running low; its only a matter of time before we have to start picking who eats in shifts. [i And] that's if a herd of the dead doesn't walk right through us.”] They've had several close calls, and they were able to divert them, but there was a growing number of these occurrences now.
[b “Now I'm not saying we should pack up and leave immediately; that's the nuclear option. But I'm saying its worth looking in to. If there's a more sustainable place for us than this place then we have to do whatever we can to get to it. First I need a better radio and then I plan on setting up a meeting with one of the scouts. I know its a lot to ask of you, but you're one of the most skilled people in this encampment, so I want you watching my back. Are you in?”]
Sara nodded as she took hold of her hand and pulled herself up into the truck. She looked around at the new faces. She couldn’t even begin to imagine what they had been through in their make-shift prisons and she wasn’t about to pretend that she understood. All she could do was offer them any support they needed and as they truck began to travel back she couldn’t help but wonder if she had subconsciously decided to stay and if she had, would Lana be accepting of that desire.
She kept her thoughts to herself whilst they travelled back, noticing that Damien had decided to do his own thing with the men that he had pulled up as his acquaintances when they raided that place. Maybe Lana would be happier having some of her people back home and now she had used Sara’s services, she would just want to see the back of her and she wouldn’t blame her. If she had been in charge of a settlement she would be hesitant about letting anyone stay herself. She let out a sigh and allowed herself to relax momentarily as they journeyed towards their home. At least for tonight she figured she would have somewhere to stay and then maybe she would talk to Lana and perhaps even John tomorrow. Maybe their settlement could benefit from having someone who used to work in law enforcement.
Sara spent a few more minutes looking around at the people in the truck and checked a few of them over, cleaning some of the minor injuries that were visibility to her, just to be useful while Lana conversed with John at the front on the truck. She couldn’t remember how long it took them to get here but she was sure that it would feel like longer going back, especially now that they had so much more on their minds and so much to process. These people had lost loved ones and Lana had lost good people; people she had hoped to be able to save but she found them lacking in numbers and she couldn’t imagine what she must be thinking. She seemed like the kind of woman who wanted vengeance and it wouldn’t surprise her if she decided to come back out here at some point, even if it was to make sure they were all dead.
Damien climbed back into the truck and headed in the opposite direction. With one of Lana's maps in his pack he could navigate his way back to collect on what Lana owed him. In the mean time he had other business to take care of. Michael eventually directed Damien towards the encampment his friends were with. It wasn't long before they arrived at what Michaels former home that was surrounded with Viking period tents. The area was fairly secluded which prevented a lot of the undead from just stumbling through.
When Damien stopped the truck he noticed the camp was in the process of being torn down for relocation. Though everything stopped when they pulled up. Damien was seeing some familiar faces in the camp and a few not so familiar. Most of them were reenactors that like Damien. Thankfully there were others that committed to the role so there were blacksmiths wood workers and even a few farmers among the lot. though only a few knew these trades. The rest were only part time reenactors that only knew how to fight the the various swords, axes and spears that they carried with them around camp. There were some livestock around them mostly pigs, chickens and horses that were already fixed to carts. Damien was almost ecstatic, the concept of Vikings in the apocalypse tickled him.
It was quiet this far out from the resort, but there were still tell-tale sounds coming from that direction; gunfire mostly and a few shouts. She wasn't exactly concerned with an immediate retaliation, tactically it made no sense and they would have a lot of clean up to do, and not to mention they'd have to deal with the undead coming for them within forty klicks of the flare. Not to mention all the noise they were still intent on making. She could hear the whine of a rotary machine gun and assumed the insurrection would be over soon.
When Sara speaks to Lana, she looks and nods at the woman. [b “Agreed. A little rest and getting out of the cold will do everyone good.”] And she was right about the undead. With the truck shut off, the moonlight was the only thing they had as a source of light, so the dead she had called this way could come from anywhere. A slight inconvenience, but one she was aware of when she took the shot. That said, she still didn't want to deal with any runners, but the living were always more of a threat than the dead.
It took a moment, but Damien stood next to the bed of the truck, and when inquired on what to do next, Lana opened her mouth to say something, but it seemed his friend Michael beat her to the punch. A group that has been raiding military outposts and police stations? Sounds familiar. But Lana and her gang didn't eat people, so at least there was a line for them. If these people were as dangerous as Michael seemed to believe, then it would be most auspicious of them to prepare for a fight.
Lana was quiet for a moment longer, chewing on the information. Right now there wasn't much they could do except follow Sara's suggestion. The ex-soldier stands up and hopes over the bed of the truck and on to the ground, holding her hand out to Sara to also hop out. Lana assumed she'd need a ride. She nods to John who begins helping Henry to their jeep, but she stays for a moment longer to address her new acquaintances.
[b “Appreciate the help.”] And she nods her head to Michael. [b “And the information. If you plan on coming back home with us, you're more than welcome. If not, we'll be in touch, I'm sure.”] She did still owe Damien marksmanship lessons after all. She gives them a mock salute in passing as she moves back to her own Jeep, getting in to the passenger's seat. She had thins to think about now, not too much, but enough. She wasn't worried about a fight, they were far away from here, but it might be in their best interest to attack again before they themselves were attacked... And perhaps it was time to look at the 'paradise' that existed in this apocalypse. A safe place with food, water, farming, and uninfected people. A 'fantasy' in this life, but something Lana knew was real. It had to be.
[+red “Somethin' on your mind, boss?”] John asked as he started the engine and began to reverse back on to the road. The corner of her mouth twitches as she looks out the window at the other men.
[b “Something.”] She responds.
Sara's heart rate was a lot higher than normal, with the adrenaline running through her body as though it would never settle again but it reminded her of the old days when she used to work on the street, protecting the innocent from criminals who decided that the law did not apply to them. Though she would never say it aloud, this was what she had been missing these last few years. Perhaps behind alone was not all she had made it up to be because protecting these people gave her a sense of purpose that she had not felt in a long time.
It wasn't too long before John was confirming that their path was clear and she nodded when he told them to get there as quickly as they could, knowing that he wouldn't need a verbal response. Sara climbed into the back of the truck when the last person climbed in and before they knew it they were pulling to a stop near where John had been stationed. Lana seemed to busy herself by looking through her pack now, as if she was looking for something that would finish off the mission. She did say that she planned on making this personal and Sara figured that this would certainly be her way of making it personal. She couldn't help but watch as she pulled out a flare gun and all of the dots connected in her mind, telling her exactly what Lana's plan was. It was something that she would have done herself if these people were as close to her as they seemed to be to Lana.
There was a minute or two of silence before Sara decided to call out. [b "We had better get a move on Lana. We don't know how close the dead are and I think most of us are spent of energy to fight again this evening."]
Damien slowly creeped the truck over fallen logs and rocks as he slowly made his way to more even ground. using a the mounted bull bar he drove over saplings and cleared his own path to the jeep they left at the insertion point. Michael looked at Damien and just laughed as though someone told a joke. when Damien prompted for an explanation Michael said, "you have no clue what kind of pissing match you just started." by that time a loud buzzing could be heard a mile in the distance. "XM134," was Michael's only response.
this unsettled Damien but at the same time he relished in the challenge of a fight. for now they would retreat and the survivors can spill more details and see what's what. when they reached the jeep Damien stopped and killed the engine. in five minutes they would be gone from the area in a hurry. grabbing the homemade SMG Damien stepped out and looked around before standing next to the bed of the truck. "whats next?"
"prepare for a fight," Michael commented. "that was just an outpost for a group thats been hitting military bases and police stations for weapons and ammo. most they have are humvees with mounted weapons. you guys caught them off guard and by now they've corralled anyone who wasn't fast enough to escape."
Calling it 'chaos' would be putting it nicely. All Hell was breaking loose with survivor on survivor mayhem. Bandits shot at the freed prisoners, and even each other when everything became too hectic. They forced each other in to close quarters, so at this point, especially since they probably weren't formally trained, friendly fire was inevitable. But that suited her just fine.
Lana puts a hole in another bandit, and a prisoner who was close-by quickly scoops up the fallen man's gun and begins contributing to the party. It was like a damn work of art when a plan like this worked out the way it did, but she wasn't about to pat herself on the back just yet, they still had to get out of here. However, it seemed Damien and his pals had already divined a means of escape that wasn't on foot, and she eagerly followed behind them, her charge slowing her down with his injured leg. But with very little resistance , they make it to a Chevy, Lana and Henry piling in the back with the giant.
[+red “The path is clear. You guys just get here as fast as you can.”] John responded to Sara's question over the radio. They went back for John as their group sat uncomfortably close to each other in the back of the truck. The second they pulled in and John began hopping in to the truck, Lana hopped out, quickly vaulting in to the bed of the truck with Damian's pack. She begins rummaging through her own pack, looking for the last piece of her mission; making it personal.
Samantha. Quiet and efficient. She didn't like to talk, but when you got her talking about something she liked, it'd be a miracle if she would ever stop. She was quick witted and had a keen eye for detail, and exceptional on supply runs.
Chris was a soft spoken young man who put himself before everyone else. He had a bit of a temper, but he often would just storm off to be with himself when he got mad enough. He had a penchant for stupid jokes, and him and Bran were attached at the hip.
Bran was like an older brother to Chris, but not nearly as soft spoken. His temperament was often obnoxious, but he was a hard worker and good with his hands. When they needed to 'renovate' the farm house, his hand was the first to rise to help. He was the one who taught Lana this valuable lesson she was about to teach the bandits: it didn't matter if someone scuffed your car, messed up your order, or told a little white lie. You were important, you had value, your time always costs money. Something against you, even just an inconvenience, was a slight, and you should always treat it as such or you'll get walked all over. No matter what, you [i make it fucking personal].
[b “That's probably why you were such a fucking hot head.”] Lana whispers to herself as she finally finds what she was looking for: a flare gun. Immediately, she aims it in to the air and fires it, the bright red ball glowing like a comet in the night sky. It went over the trees and then some, lingering in the air before descending slowly towards the ground. It would be seen by the living and the dead, but either way, this holiday resort the bandits called home would now be having an army of the undead descending upon it. Even if they got out, they just lost their home. And Lana would sleep like a baby tonight for it.
Sara took a step back from Lana as she pulled out her pistol to shoot at the lock. It was clear at that point that their presence would be known by now and their only task now was to get out of there alive. She did not hesitate to rush to the aid of those who were trying to make their way out of their make-shift prison. It was clear that their time here had not exactly been easy and many of them sported injuries or were malnourished which meant that they were slow to move at the very beginning but soon enough they were moving.
Lana did not need to say anything for them to know that they were needing to get out of there as soon as possible. The moment that they were out of there the bandits were attempting to stop them but along with Lana, she used her weapons to ensure that the bandits could not get close to them. Damien was already making his way a car with the people that he knew, and Sara was shooting at some of the bandits that had come from behind them while they kept moving forward.
[b “It’s not too far to the van from here. We just need to keep moving. John we are heading you way. Is our path clear out?”] She asked as she continued to run backwards as she aimed her gun at the head of another bandit, taking him out within a matter of seconds. The sound of a car engine caught her attention and when she was confident that there were no more people coming out of the building she turned her head and watched Damien pull off in the car.
A part of her wondered if Damien would be making his way back to the encampment or whether he would simply go back to him farm with his friend now that he got in there and got them out. In fairness, he did not know that they were going to be there, and he had made a deal with Lana and it didn’t seem like he would bail on that deal. Sara looked over to Lana to check her progress at the front and continued to move along with the group.
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