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.”]
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.
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