Sara was not usually the kind of person to make small talk, but Ben was right when he mentioned that Lana was slightly intense and even as she asked how many people were living in her encampment she could tell that she did not really want to make conversation with her. She was very much about business, that was clear from the way she held herself and the way she kept her answers short. Sara liked that about her and in some ways the woman beside her reminded her of her partner before the world went to shit. Her lips twitched in the corner and they broke into a smile as she looked down at the floor, avoiding the gaze of those around her. They were clearly a tight community and Lana did not seem like the type who would just let anyone in, so she figured most people here had a skill of some sort, something that was be beneficial to the community rather than just another mouth to feed and that made sense to her. To thrive in this world, everyone had to contribute in some way. Even so, sixty-three people in one encampment was a lot of people. In fact, Sara could not remember ever coming across a community this big before now.
Sara looked up from the floor when Lana’s pace slowed, clearly arriving at their destination and she followed her inside the building and up the stairs. It was interesting to see how they had adapted to life here and repurposed the buildings for their necessary survival. In truth, she was quite impressed with it. She watched as the woman moved around the room with such familiarity and pulled a chair out and indicated for her to take a seat to which she obliged.
When the woman suggested that she was trained she raised her eyebrow and nodded. Lana was also perceptive, taking note of the fact that she had some kind of training from the way she had handled herself with the undead and how she held her weapons. It made sense, she was the leader here for a reason and a part of her wondered whether the woman was helping her with her wound because she saw a use for her. Either way, she would allow the woman the space to say what she needed to say. She swallowed as the woman took the chair in from of her and without a worked pulled up her shirt. Sara was not about to protest though, she needed to stitch up the wound otherwise it would only get worse, so she grits her teeth as the woman got to work but found herself distracted from the pain when Lana continued to talk.
Why was she telling her that she had a convoy missing? She didn’t need to be asking herself that question for long because she continued to explain their situation. Sara listened intently the entirety of her explanation and found herself intrigued. She was sure that it was common for convoys going missing, sometimes caught up with the undead and overrun but Lana seemed convinced that they had been taken prisoners by other people. She still was not quite sure why she was telling her all of this but as she finished stitching her up, she looked her directly in the eyes and told her that she wanted her on the team.
Sara pulled the material of her shirt back down and looked at Lana with confusion as she allowed herself to think it over for a moment. Lana did not seem like the patient type, so she knew that she did not have long to give her an answer. She gratefully took the bar from her and took a bite as she mulled it over and she chewed the inside of her lip. She supposed the she owed the woman something for helping her with the wound and helping find a convoy would take advantage of her skills. It had been so long since she had done anything other than survive.
Sara nodded. [b “I will help you.”]
Darkness rolled up on Damien quicker than he anticipated. though this wasn't nightfall, a storm had brewed behind him and was rapidly approaching. being two thirds of the way to the farm it was a no brainer to keep course. in fact they needed to go faster. getting out Damien used the spears as canopy posts lashing them to the sides of the cart while using the poncho he kept packed in his travel bag as a cover. cutting the ropes leading the goats he placed them in the cart one by one. looking at the horse he cursed as he used his bed roll to cover all but the head of the horse to keep it dryer longer and preven the harness from chafing the horse.
now on foot leading the horse as he jogged along side he made his way to the farm as the rain now soaked him from head to toe and chilled him to the bone. leading the cart to the stables he pulled it inside before moving the horse and goats into empty stalls. situating the cart towards the back of the barn he stowed his equipment. as he was doing so he heard a noise outside before seeing the face enter the door. it was one of the guards he had seen at the gate before. "Hey! what are you doing here?!" he exclaimed raising his sidearm.
"i was here earlier, your boss let me take a horse home now im back to trade supplies." Damien explained. a few moments went by before thunder boomed in the distance causing the animals to become restless. the goats even belted out, chickens clucked and the rabbits feverishly scurried around in their cages. this brought a look of confusion before excitement. "tell your boss im here. ok?" the man nodded and ran off to report his find. in the meantime Damien found a lantern hanging from a support post. lighting it gave him a small heat source he could stand next to to warm his hands.
going to his pack he found a set of dry clothes. changing all except his "Death Crew" shirt which now hung to dry near the lantern. finding a small hand towel in his pack he dried off his shoulders, chest, abdomen, and back before returning to stand by the lantern. looking down at himself he noticed the weight he had started to pack on with it closing into winter. even so the definition of his muscles wasnt afflicted as he flexed his abdomen for his own amusement.
The woman was perceptive deducing that Lana was in charge. She hadn't even given anyone orders as of yet. But perhaps it was how the people around her acted in response to her presence. Back a little after the end of the world started they needed a leader, and at the time Lana was the only one to step up to the plate. However, she wasn't going to go in to detail about how this all came about; what Sara had said seemed to be more of a statement than a question, but either way Lana hums in response. No one cared about history anymore, and she'd rather forget what happened then.
At her next statement, Lana looks over her shoulder at the woman before looking back to where she was leading them. The motor homes, tents, and trailers were all packed pretty close together, creating what almost felt like tight streets. Just with a lot more widows and people staring. Not to mention it got eerily quiet as they passed through.
[b “Sixty-three.”] Lana says in regards to the amount of people around here. They were lucky they found this place when they did, and they were even more lucky that most of the original eighteen of them were previously farmers who knew how to run and cultivate the facilities. Sixty-three people was a lot to feed in these conditions, but they were doing well and steadily improving. Their numbers weren't dwindling but increasing slowly, this farm becoming a safe haven for those who had lived most of the apocalypse fending for themselves. Lana herself even breathed a little easier after being here and she excelled at being in excessively shitty situations.
Lana lead them to the centre of the area where a large residence was built, clearly before the apocalypse. She opens the front door and leads her inside. The main floor seemed to be a common area, but also had areas re-purposed for different uses and storage. There were a few other rooms, but the doors were closed, and it seemed like this wasn't their stop anyways. She brings Sara upstairs which had a less homey feel to it, and was behind a heavy locked door. Lana unlocks it.
Most of the interior walls that weren't load-bearing were taken out, opening up the entire second story floor. The flooring was mostly wood, but there were small places where carpet used to be and subsequently torn out and replaced. There were crates that had weapons and ammunition, tables for filling magazines and cleaning/repairing weapons, as well as a makeshift radio station. In front of the radio station was a large map of the state, and in the centre of the room was a sizable conference table with chairs. She takes two of the chairs and has Sara sit in one of them close to the map. She could talk while she worked.
[b “You're trained.”] Lana stated as she grabbed a medical kit laying on one of the tables. She could tell by how she carried her gun and how she fought. It wasn't just taking advantage of the undead's poor motor skills. The finesse was evident.
She sits on the chair in front of Sara and slides it close, slowly pulling the woman's shirt up to look at the wound. It was a puncture wound, nothing fatal, but the area it was in made healing an issue, especially since they were always on the move. It'd just reopen and bleed if Sara moved wrong. She wouldn't bleed out, but it would hurt and would eventually get infected. And it wasn't a bite just like Lana had expected, so Sara didn't have to die.
Leaning forward, Lana cleans her hands and then the wound with a saline solution before she starts stitching it up. It wouldn't need very many stitches, but it would definitely stop the wound from reopening. [b “I have a convoy missing.”] She said to Sara. Although calling it a 'convoy' made it seem bigger than it was. Her, Ben, and John were a 'convoy' today. [b “Three scouts and one driver, two days ago while investigating Columbia Falls.”] She motions her head towards the large map on the wall. It was located just beside Whitefish and Kalispell. On the map there were coloured pins stuck in to certain places. There was a red pin in an area in Columbia Falls. A resort.
[b “I believe they were taken prisoner and I'm putting together a team to get them back.”] She finished sewing the woman up, leaning back in to her chair to be eye level with the woman. [b “I want you on the team.”] No one but a select few knew about this incident, because they didn't want to incite a panic, which might be why she was enlisting capable outside help; Northman was next on her list for recruitment. It wasn't uncommon for a scouting mission to take a few days, but she knew they were taken because of the area and the fact that four out of four people didn't call for a check-in for over forty-eight hours. She'd assume they were killed, but the driver was always outside of the area being scouted, so all four of them dying at once and no one notifying anyone was highly unlikely.
She holds up an MRE chocolate bar to Sara for her to take, as if that was part of a deal one couldn't refuse. Of course she'd let the other woman think it over if she needed to; when push came to shove, this wasn't her fight. Lana then quirks up an eyebrow asking the obvious question without actually opening her mouth.
[i Are you in?]
Sara watched as Lana waved off the other male. It seemed that she didn’t mind offering the man a horse to get back home and she wondered how many of those horses they just have for them to sacrifice one for a survivor they had just met, especially one that had no intention of staying. Sara’s attention was only drawn back the Ben when he spoke again, telling her that her presence here would not be a drain on their supplies. She laughed and shook her head. How could a kid who had grown up in this mess be so optimistic about strangers? Lucky for him, she just wanted to survive, she didn’t had a violent bone in her body, at least towards the living.
[b “I wouldn’t go telling just anyone that. There are people out there who would burn this encampment to the ground for those supplies.”] Sara adjusted her hand on her stomach and looked up at Lana returned, telling Ben to shut up. Her smiled remained upon her face as she watched the boy’s expression change and watched as the woman’s eyes travelled down to her stomach where she was bleeding. She swallowed and let out a heavy breath before nodding. They would talk and then she would get out of their hair. There would be no harm in simply engaging in conversation. [b “I’ll see you around kid.”] Sara placed her hand on the boy’s shoulder and smiled kindly towards him, mostly to thank him for not leaving her there to fight the rest of the undead alone. A different person might have.
She then turned towards Lana and nodded and followed her to wherever she was leading her. [b “I’m assuming you are the one in charge here.”] She spoke mostly to fill the silence between them as she took in the sights of their encampment as she walked, faces turning to look at her and whispers being exchanged about who the survivor might be. [b “You’ve got a lot of people here.”]
Damien stood there for a moment after being offered a horse as he weighed his options. his first thought was it being a trap but something else told him it wasn't. not to mention with a horse he could make a round trip to bring supplies back to pay for the horse and still have time to make it home before dark. he guessed this was better than taking the horse and disappearing with it. making his way down to the barn he had found a young colt that caught his eye. with no one around to designate what saddle belongs to his chosen horse so he simply led the horse from its stall and took two handfuls of the horses mane before jumping and climbing his way onto the horse's back. using his knees and heels he pressed them into the horse's sides to keep himself stable without the saddle. with a click of the tunge and a tap of the heel the horse was off. Damien had some experience with horses but never actually owned one before.
within the hour the horse had traveled to the mans homestead. it was fairly small but it was all he needed. a ten foot privacy fence lined the property and featured a spiked iron bar at the top to deter intruders. the gate matched the wood fence in appearance so it was a seamless wall of wood and spikes. on the inside bracers had been placed on the posts and between them to reinforce it against the dead. people wernt much of a problem, a truck couldnt get this far back into the woods without a chainsaw and a guide so it was relatively the safest place in the area for one, but it did get lonely.
when inside Damien was greated by the belting of goats as a few ran up to greet him. along with goats he had chickens and rabbits in different pens along with a small garden of vegetables. in the corner of the property was a reenactment cart he had bilt some time prior to the apocalypse. pulling it out he had started selecting what he was going to give them, even thinking of what he wanted in return. mostly it was to learn how to use firearms properly. finally he decided to give them enough livestock to get started along with a sample of what can be produced from them such as eggs, milk, cheese, and dried meats. he even included a clay gallon jug full of his home made honey mead. with chickens and rabbits in cages and goats tied to the rear of the cart he even found space to pile in unused ammo and firearms his father had collected along with a dozen winged spears and a half dozen longswords and axes he had forged during his spare time. by now the cart was full and the horse strapped in Damien sat on top of the cart and started his way back to the farm the other survivors were at.
It seemed like the survivors she brought home had no intention of staying, which evidently suited her just fine. It was a free country, she wouldn't hold anyone here against their will. So when Northman told her he had to get home before dark, she nodded at him. If he had somewhere else to be, then clearly he had his own priorities to take care of. She knew the importance of things, even the little things, which was why she didn't trust many people. She followed his worried gaze towards the more ragged people on the outer ring of their would-be trailer park.
[b “They won't do anything.”] He told him as he began to leave, and she followed him out to a certain point. Those people were more recent... [i additions] to their little homestead here. Whatever Northman had back where he was seemed to be enough to sustain him, and they had enough here on the farm as well. That being said, they mostly lived off of fresh bread, grains, and vegetables during the winter, so she'd say for a large group of survivors they were living pretty well. These street urchins wouldn't give up their newly acquired steady supply of sustenance to take what Northman was pulling for what was likely one person.
Before he leaves or if he decided to stay, whatever really, she pointed to a stable, indicating for him to take a horse if he needed. They had quite a few, and these days they only really used them for transportation in the country areas for convenience. They were also here in case they ever needed the extra food. It was nice assurance.
And with that, she waves him off, quickly moving in on Ben and Sara's conversation. She had a wound she intended to look at.
[+blue “No, no, you wouldn't be a drain on our supplies.”] He clearly took notice of her wound. [+blue “We have plenty of medical supplies, we actually scavenged some dead FEMA outposts and have tons of them.”] Good thing he wasn't shouting that at the top of his lungs. Even though only Sara and Lana could hear, she didn't want any of that to get around, especially not on the outside. They were pretty hidden and secluded here, but it wouldn't do them any good if people started [i looking] for them.
[b “Ben, shut up.”] She tells him, swatting the back of his head. She then looks Sara, and makes it very clear she was looking at where the woman's wound was before she meets her eyes again. She beckons her with a finger. [b “We need to talk.”] She would stitch her up herself too, Lana had enough medical training where she could do [i that] at least. Plus, there was something specific she wanted to talk to her about anyways, and if John decided to park the damn truck some time this century, she'd be happy to have him weigh in on the conversation as well. But they'd have to take this conversation to the farmhouse, which she motions for Sara to follow her there.
Sara wanted nothing more than for the truck to drive off so that she could simply return to her solitude. She could get away from the undead herself once the truck was out of sight but it seemed as though the boy had other ideas and leaned down to pull her up into the truck and within a matter of seconds, the woman who seemed just as cold towards people as she was had grabbed hold of her to launch her into the back of the truck. Great. Now she owed these people something because they think they have saved her live. Owing people something could be dangerous in this world and she had been so careful up to this point to avoid that. In the process of being hurled into the vehicle her wound opened up once more and she could feel the warmth of the blood drenching the bandages she had wrapped around her stomach not too long ago. That seemed wasted now and at some point she would have to scavenge for more medical supplies but she did not do anything to alert they strangers that she was bleeding. Instead she grit her teeth, dusting herself off and pulled her jacket tighter around her to conceal her stomach in case the blood oozed through to her shirt.
Sara looked out the back of the truck and watched as some of the dead moved faster than she had seen living people. They seemed to be quicker when they first turned and it was obvious by the way that they moved that they were very new to being dead yet she watched as the distance between the truck and the undead became greater. Sara sighed and looked around at the unlikely crowd of people gathered and hoped that they would simply drop them off at their earliest convenience. It wasn’t as though she had a home to go to so it didn’t matter to her what direction they were going in. Ben started to talk, attempting to get to know the newcomers to their group while the woman he introduced as Lana kept quiet. They had already established and lack of trust back at the house and she knew about her injury, knowing that if they brought her back to their home that she would become a burden on their supplies and that was not Sara’s intention.
She slumped herself on the floor of the truck, leaning her back against the walls as she allowed her hand to rest on her stomach, checking periodically and subtly for any blood. Sara almost laughed at the polar opposites in personality when it came to Ben and Lana and she couldn’t envisage a scenario where these two would have anything to do with each other if the world hadn’t already gone to shit. She smirked to herself at the thought and figured that it wasn’t exactly giving away too much to simply tell him her name. [b “The name is Sara kid, you did good back there.”] That was all she said for the entirety of their journey, unsure how long they would be driving for or where they were going.
Sara allowed herself to glance towards the other male in the truck now. He was well built and obviously had a decent lifestyle to be able to keep himself well but he didn’t seem to be the type to keep company himself. If he did, he certainly wasn’t showing any concern for anyone he might have left behind. He had evidently adapted well to this new lifestyle. It seemed that she didn’t have much longer to take in his appearance as the woman moved to the outside of the truck now to signal the opening of a gate and Sara started to rise to her feet. She couldn’t remember the last time she had seen this many faces. She swallowed hard as she looked from face to face, seeing them whisper about their presence and she turned to Ben who was still in the truck as it came to a stop.
[b “Look kid, I appreciate the ride but I don’t plan on being a drain on your supplies here. I did not set out today in hopes to find an encampment, just some supplies back there and I got what I was looking for.”] She removed her hand from her stomach and bit the inside of her lip as she saw that it was now tainted with the red of her blood. She cursed herself silently, hoping the boy didn’t noticed as she climbed out of the truck, listening to the other male telling Lana that he had no intention of staying, that he had his own place to get back to. Figured. Must be nice to have somewhere to go. She didn’t mind moving but it sure would have been easier if she had a constant; a home.
Damien grunted as he was used as a post for this womans shooting platform. this frustrated him but they were soon moving allowing him to shove the woman off his chest. after some time he took his weapon back and reloaded it from his last two remaining magazines. when he realized they were at a compound Damien became fairly uneasy at the number of people that had gathered especially after seeing looks of dissatisfaction and anger through the signs malnutrition on their faces. he was grateful for the ride out but they had gone nearly five miles past where his cabin was located. his main concern was his livestock. be it scavengers or something that will come eat the animals Damien needed to get back and tend to his own homestead. he had more than necessary in terms of provisions so he would make the journey back tomorrow with some supplies for his gratitude.
tapping the woman on the shoulder he had recently met. he thanked her for the ride before using his thumb to point at the trail back to the road, "i have to get home before dark." he said as he started back the way he came. his other concern was people taking notice of his size and build. it was clear Damien was well nourished and exercised to be the size he is a few years into the apocalypse, which ment he had a steady food supply somewhere somehow. he would even antucipate being followed by someone here if he wasnt outright prevented from leaving.
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Whitefish, Montana. For nine or so months of the year this idyllic little mountain town was as peaceful as you could want and a mighty fine place to watch the world pass by. Life trundled along at a steady pace in the shadow of Big Mountain; a quite dull and unoriginal name true but sometimes flashy names got in the way of the final product. There was an odd beauty to a simple name, leaving the scenery as a means of showcasing itself. And it was a breathtaking sight come winter when a clear blue sky framed picturesque snowy peaks.
This perfect backdrop was the home to Thomas Masterson. Twenty-seven years old, six foot three, pure bred Montanan. Aside from a few summer holidays at a cousins horse farm down in Arkansas as a youngster he had never seen a reason to leave his humble birthplace. Although he was rather keen to avoid the three months of year when the city-folk would flock to the slopes for their winter holidays, only leaving after the popular Whitefish Winter Carnival that brought an end to the winter season. Those folks were loud, obnoxious, self-centred and egotistical. Whereas you could count on a fellow resident to come out with their snow shovel to help you after a blizzard, the tourists were as want to whine and moan that they couldn't dig out their fancy SUV's and luxury cars.
It was for this reason he was partially thankful that the epidemic had begun outside of the winter. No tourists or people to clog the clinics or roads and cause havoc in the local stores. Having been isolated out of the way of most populous areas they had been able to bear the beginning of the end with ease, watching on their televisions as the world went to heck in a hand basket. Indeed the town emptied somewhat as many families sought to find the rest of their family in far away states and be closer to loved ones. No doubt many didn't make it. As he saw things if they got past Kalispell they would have done well.
Thomas' parents had retired down to warmer pastures near South Carolina a year back and his younger sister Georgia was in university at UofT in Austin. When things hit the fan he had dug in, unable to reach his family by phone or internet he saw no reason to travel to such densely populated areas. By the time he got there they would have evacuated out. It was best he sit put in Whitefish where it was safe.
It was only when Rory Pategill's wife, Susan, had come running down the main street of his neighbourhood, wailing and bawling as she held a bloody hand to her arm, that the true horror of this became so real. Those residents still residing on the street had come out to help her and tried calming her down. Turns out ol' Rory had been attacked whilst coming home from work near Helena. Having told his wife it was just a fever she had gone in to see him that morning and he'd taken a good chunk of her flesh out her forearm. Through shock and blood loss Susan didn't last much longer, turning minutes later and latching onto Dawn Woodbury's neck and pinning her down to the ground.
The attacks had increased from there as the wounded from Kalispell slowly trickled north in search of safety, in search of protection from the horrors they had seen. And it was not just the undead attacking but fearful people turning on others. In the end all they did was spread the fear and illness and the pandemic came to Whitefish in a slow, shuffling manner.
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Months down the line he was still alive. He had left his home down in the town, moving up the mountain and further north. It was only a fifteen minute walk back to town from the cabin he had taken refuge in after those initial outbreaks. Primarily used as a ranger station it had the basics of a bed, a table and chair, some storage and a wood fueled stove. Over time he had made it more hospitable, not least by making the building more sturdy and weather resistant. When he had first arrived the breezy snow made each gap quite evident and he had made a good concrete paste to seal it up, cleaning out the stove so it burned hotter and making any external repairs only when the winds kicked up as their howling saved attracting any attention; alive or undead.
With a small stockpile of canned food supplemented by any game he could catch, usually rabbit or squirrel, it was enough to leave him well off in comparison to most. He drew water from a mountain stream that fed into the lake and once boiled – just to make sure – it was as fresh as drinking from a tap. As for keeping safe he had two six-shooters, a novelty bought for him by his Uncle when he had turned eighteen and the last time he had visited Arkansas. Trusty and reliable they were a last cause given how they echoed terribly in the silent mountain range. They were used only just above the lever-action rifle he had found on one of his scavenging trips into town. That stayed often in the cabin, just beside the door ready for anyone that wasn't undead who thought they could take from him – and a few had tried.
That morning had been a particularly cold one, the morning sun blocked by heavy clouds, snow expected either that night or the next day. It would mean he had to go out and grab a few more provisions to get through the storm, sit it out in his warm home. The firewood could wait to be collected that evening, he needed to get down to the town. So, donning his thick fur jacket and fixing his pistols to the holsters at his waist, he grabbed a duffel bag containing a crowbar and some miscellaneous tools should he needs to break into a building of interest and off down the mountain he went.
It had been a while since he'd last seen someone. It was good and bad in that sense. People meant danger, especially the frightened ones. They would do anything and act in manners unbecoming of a more civilised being. That spark of unknowing was very dangerous. And yet he missed having conversations. He missed the social aspect of interaction and only through prolonged isolation had he come to realise how much he missed just having a living being to shoot the breeze with and discuss nothing. It was funny the things your found yourself missing when the world went to hell.
It seemed that Lana and Northman had created a hole in the proverbial mosh-pit of undead they were in. Both of them took on areas that needed to be looked after, switched, and the pattern repeated itself. However, it was only a matter of time before Lana ran out of ammunition, and she wasn't as skilled with archaic weaponry as Northman seemed to be. Sure, she had specialized training in close quarters combat, but military knife fighting was usually for one on one, some times more but not usually, and the threat of the knife kept your adversaries at bay when you needed it. The dead did not fear injury, and she was pretty sure they couldn't feel injury either. Rendered a lot of tactics and key elements in fighting techniques inert.
Lana was about to open her mouth to say something over the battle, but the sound of the undead bouncing off of a vehicle made her close it. There were really no words that had to be said at this point, everyone would know to make a break for the truck if they wanted to live. She was prepared to fight through the mob, the truck having created an opening for them, but it seemed Northman had a different idea in mind.
Suddenly she was enveloped by the man and his shield, the assault rifle taken from her, and she was being pushed through by the man. [i Oh boy.] There were [i lots] of problems she had with this, but the stupid thing to do right now would be to fight it and resist. Survival was the most important thing at the moment, so she could swallow her pride and let herself be the damsel-not-in-distress for a minute. Although, she had to laugh at him when he called out for a V formation, which was probably an odd sound within all of the chaos with the undead. No one was going to do that, there this was too much for them. Her laughing wouldn't last very long though.
It happened quite quickly again, as Northman took matters in to his own hands, shooting at the dead and then rolling the two in the truck. When he landed on top of her and opened his eyes, he would see a very sour, very ungrateful scowl on her face. It took every ounce of willpower not to headbutt him just to make a point. But he rolled off before she gave in to her inner thoughts, and she was immediately up. She grabs the rifle, reloading it with mechanical grace, puts a knee down on Northman's chest with a little too much force than was necessary, and aims down the sights outside of the truck. The two of them were out of the woods, but she had Ben to worry about. [i Sort of.] And the other woman might want to take advantage of this Get Out of Hell Free card as well.
The others were not kidding when they told him that he should do his best not to surprise Lana. He didn't know if his nose was broken, but his head felt like it got split in half, and even though it was the morning, he could see stars. It was hard to focus, but once there was an arm slid under him, he sobered quickly and found his centre as he was brought to his feet.
It took him a second, but he nods at the woman's questions, focusing on her face. [+blue “Yeah, yeah! That's us. And I can fight... Hopefully.”] He says and looks at the truck. It was one of those heavy duty trucks, tricked out a little for the apocalypse. He could see John sitting alone in the front seat, wordlessly shouting and motioning for them to get a move on. There's suddenly a new feeling in his chest at the sight; this situation wasn't completely hopeless after all, they could make it. Ben then grins at the woman with him, in thanks, not with confidence... Well, maybe a little.
Ben still had Lana's rifle, but with a quick check he saw the pistol he had knocked out of her hands close by. He retrieves it, and with a nod to the woman, he begins fighting his way to the truck with her. He uses the pistol and the machete to hack and shoot his way through while Lana provides cover fire from the truck, blasting Scabs in their way or when they were going to be flanked. Ben wasn't as experienced as the trio, so he lagged a little bit, the other woman taking the lead as they got to the truck, but once they did, it was a relief!
Without any protest, Ben hops up first and is pulled in to the truck by Lana, who immediately tosses down the assault rifle, taking the pistol from Ben and covers the woman with a few shots from the gun. It wasn't obvious to Ben, but the woman's hesitation to get in the truck was obvious to Lana. And she could rot for all she cared. However, just when Lana was going to signal for their driver to move, Ben reaches over the side for the other woman. [i Goddammit.] Lana quickly joins him, grabbing hold of the woman's limbs and bringing her in to the back of the truck with them.
And it seemed like it was just in time too. Over the low moaning and growls of the undead steadily surrounding the truck, there was a guttural, almost liquid screech. Down the street there were three undead, one of them making the sound, and when they all caught sight of the truck, they began [i sprinting] towards them. Clearly they were recently turned. Lana bangs the side of the truck rhythmically and it begins to move, crushing and crashing through the undead like they were wet and unpleasant speed bumps. Soon enough, they were a distant memory as they sped down the street, weaving through cars and other obstacles, and soon skidded on to a country road. Once they were there, the truck slows down to a more reasonable pace, farms and empty landscape on either side of them.
There was a moment of silence, probably the relieving feeling of making it out of something like that alive, but Lana knew it wouldn't last very long because-
[+blue “Thank God we got out of there... So whats everyone's names? Interesting facts?”] Ben splits the silence. [+blue “I'm Ben. The silent and prickly one is Lana.”] And she doesn't say anything, she just makes a curt gesture with her head and then glances out in to the farm land, slumping down slightly more. They would be arriving back at their encampment soon, it was about an hour out of town at a secluded farm. Perfect for keeping them safe. But with the introduction of these new survivors and how much more dangerous the outside was getting, she knew their safety was going to be coming in limited quantities. Sacrifices were going to have to be made as they kept going on like this.
Ben was optimistic about survivors, and might always think that meeting them like this was a good thing. It kept the ranks up, and the more people with experience meant that they were more likely to survive because of more capable hands. Strength in numbers and what not. But what he failed to see was that the more people there were meant that things became more unpredictable. Her intense gaze settles on to the woman opposite of her.
[i Unpredictable indeed.]
By the time they made it to the encampment, it was the afternoon. For the entirety of the drive, they were on country roads in farmland, the only thing that changed was then they got close. There were more trees, and parts of the road were cut off by fallen ones. They manoeuvred down some more roads and dirt roads until they come upon one of those 'hidden driveways'. Really, trees were mostly arched and it created more cover, the entrance was something most would overlook passing by, which was simply a helpful accident.
The truck drives down the long driveway and in to a large farming estate. There were multiple buildings with a variety of different uses, both conventional and unconventional. These ones were built before the apocalypse. There were structures that were recently built with re-purposed materials that were placed in strategic places throughout the encampment; watchtowers, with armed civilians. The land that they covered was sizeable, but most of it was dotted with motor homes or travel trailers, creating a shanty town of vehicles, tents, and trailers. And in the centre of it all was a farmhouse the previous owners used to live in. It was a very DIY setup, but it worked.
They stop in front of a gate, Lana quickly hopping over the side of the truck to open it. She waves the truck through, Ben and the new survivors being brought inside as many heads poke out of their motor homes to take a look. She was going to have an annoying time explaining to the others that they didn't get any supplied, but more mouths to feed.
Good. A woman after her own heart. Sara didn’t trust easily so it only made it easier for her when those she met also had limited trust for her. At least then guilt did not factor into it. The woman in question moved passed her to get outside and Sara chuckled to herself. She had accepted a long time ago that manners no longer existed in this rotting world but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t remember a time when humanity seemed to put such care and focus into portraying good manners to other people. Instead of allowing her thoughts to linger she began to make her way down the stairs and out of the house onto the street where she took in the scene. The man fighting the undead seemed to have a good rhythm and she noticed how his technique was different from those she had witnessed in the past and as her eyes scanned the street she noticed that the woman she had just met had not come alone. Her eyes fixated on Ben and took in his appearance. He seemed young and inexperienced and not the kind of company she expected the hard-ass she just met to keep.
She watched as Lana aimed her gun and her eyes widened, knowing what she was about to do. This was exactly why she did not trust humans. As her finger tightened on the trigger, Sara’s hand tightened around her weapon, getting prepared to fight for her life whether that meant fighting the undead or the humans. It seemed the boy had a conscious and didn’t allow Lana to shoot the man as he reached forward and knocked the gun out of her hand which seemed to change the entire plan. Sara sighed as she watched the woman move to fight with the stranger and a part of her was tempted to simply walk in the other direction. This was not her fight and she could easily slip away yet, there was still a small part of her conscious that couldn’t leave them to fight alone. Perhaps it was the cop part of her that she had learned to push away many years ago, but it was still there nagging at her.
Sara sighed and moved towards Ben and lid her hand underneath his arm and used her strength to pull him to his feet. [b “Is that your truck?”] She asked as she indicated towards the vehicle that had seemingly appeared from nowhere. She didn’t wait for a reply before she started to talk once more. [b “You need to fight your way to the truck. Can you do that?”] Sara looked into the boy’s eyes and saw a confidence that only came with being a child in this world. It wasn’t fair, but it was the way things were here. She nodded towards the boy and started to fight her way through the remaining undead until she neared the truck, noticing that Ben was not too far behind.
[b “Get in the truck. I will hold them off you.”] She had no intention of getting into the truck with these strangers. It was not her place to invite herself along with a party of survivors who clearly had a camp somewhere because they had someone come to their rescue the moment they called for it. Sara slammed her knife into the head of one undead, pulling it out and plunging it into another skilfully as she looked around to see if Ben had made it to the truck whilst still fighting.
Damien was enthralled with the thirst of this battle so much so he almost elbowed the woman who came to fight by his side untill he realized she was a survivor there to fight. her and him in the same sling was akward to say the least untill the two had managed to extend it fully even then it was difficult untill he gave up on focusing on the woman and more on the fight, she seemed to move around him better than he could around her. so he continued the fight untill he heard the sound of bodies bounding off sheet metal. looking back it was a truck undoubtedly one this woman had radioed for.
fighting back to back was fine while stationary, they now had to move. stepping back to create space Damien held both his ax and shield in one hand then slipped his arm out of the sling leaving it wrapped around his neck briefly and turned towards the woman who had commandeered his weapon before sliping his arm back through the sling and grabbing the rifle by the barrel as close to the receiver as possible as he wrapped his shield arm around the woman to keep her protected from incoming threats as he started to push his way through the mob, thrusting his weapon like a spear killing and pushing the dead aside as he aggressively advanced towards the truck. "Rally up! V formation!" he barked the orders at the other survivors. it was a simple military formation that was used since roman times to modern fire teams and was the preferred formation for breaking an ambush situation.
After getting to the truck Damien had tossed his shield and ax in the back before reloading the M16 from a magazine in his bandolier he switched the weapon to full auto as he turned and sprayed into the mob at head level. wrapping an arm around the woman still entwined in the sling he jumped up and back enough to get his buttocks over the bed of the truck before leanig back and rolling in. with a thud Damien landed on his head as they fell into the truck causing his vision to blacken temporarily. when he came two he found himself lifting himself off the woman before muttering his apologies and laying next to her in the bed of the truck still tethered by the sling of his gun.
The wound was on the woman's stomach, so it was more than likely not a bite, but she'd have a more in-depth look later; she'd never simply take someone's word for it. Usually bites were on the limbs and extremities, the easiest things latch on to and take a chunk out of. If one of the undead was able to get hold of her enough where it'd be able to take a bite at her stomach, they probably wouldn't be talking right now. That being said, she did like the woman's answers to her questions; she didn't give her a lot, but gave her enough to work with. And she was smart enough to know who the real danger in this world was.
As silence hung in the room, it was soon broken when someone started screaming bloody murder outside. However, it wasn't like the noises they've both probably grown accustomed to. It was patterned, almost ritualistic, and there was a sound almost like a drum beating to it. [i What the hell was happening now?]
Lana watches as the woman turns her back to her to look out the window to investigate. She considers the woman lucky Lana wasn't here with any actual killing intent toward other survivors. This would've been the perfect shot; two in the back of the head, execution style. However, Lana quickly joins her at the window to look outside and see who it was that seemed to have a literal screaming death wish.
The person who was calling more undead to their location was another new survivor, but considering what he was doing, he probably wasn't going to be surviving for long. At this point she'd be tempted to just watch and see how many undead this guy—'Northman' as she was now referring to him—could behead before he was either overrun or had to retreat. But once she notices Ben in close proximity, standing in shock, she knew she had to intervene. Northman wasn't just putting his own life in danger anymore, and that was something she had a problem with.
[b “There's nothing to figure out; I [i don't] trust you.”] Lana responds to the woman without looking from the window. She made sure there was no illusions there but agreed it was time to leave. And when the woman began to ask if she was coming, she brushes passed her, not taking the time to help her with her wound, and went out the door, her gun at the ready. There were more important things that had to be done and she didn't like wasting her time being nice.
Evidently, it was chaos outside, Northman holding back the undead with a riot shield and hacking at them with an axe, chanting and screaming. She took note of his physique, foot work, and choice of weaponry. He was trained, or at least practised, but that wouldn't save him from being surrounded by Scabs and ripped apart. All it took was one to infect you, and he was lucky that none of these particular undead could run. But you couldn't be lucky forever.
On her belt, Lana pulled off a radio and switched it on. [b “78 Cedar Street.”] She spoke in to it before advancing towards Ben who watched in awe or shock. The mob was growing rather quickly, attracted by Northman's cries of battle, drawing them from other and streets and houses. Some began funnelling around him towards Lana and the others. Her pistol went up, and four shots meant four of the undead were wiped out, but that wasn't going to stop them all, nor would it be enough at the rate the mob was increasing.
There was a way to end this, a distraction, something that the undead were more attracted to than sound. [i The flesh of the living.] And with their ululating Viking liability already in the crowd, she didn't have to make any tough decisions, and it would make it that much easier. That said, she'd still need him to be loud, so blowing his brains out wasn't going to cut it, as much as she would like to. She raises her gun, taking aim in the undulating crowd. Blowing out his knee would do the trick, and at this range, she couldn't miss.
[+blue “Wait!”] Ben slaps the gun out of her hand before she can fire, and before he even realizes it, her companion is on the ground with a bloody nose and at least one of his eyes was going to be blackened. There was a slight tingling in Lana's elbow. She turns back to the scene in front of her. A truck was on its way to extract them now, but they needed to buy more time, and her original plan was now out the window thanks to Ben. She eyes the other man, already having taken in to account he had an M16 on his back.
[i That'll work.]
She sprints in, and slides, quickly rising up and under the sling of the M16, and directly back to back with Northman. She takes the gun in her hands, pretty much now she was strapped to the man's back, and begins firing at the undead. It became something like a complicated dance. Every time he moved, she moved, when he zipped, she zapped. Lana moved with free-flowing grace, only restricted by the rifle sling, hitting the strap when she could to create more slack. Each round was shot with expert precision, each blow with the bayonet deadly, killing where Northman wasn't killing, defending where he wasn't defending, while she was ducking and weaving between each of his strikes. You'd think the two made a extraordinary team, but in actuality, Lana was skilled enough, trained enough, and had lots of experience in fighting back to back. She was taking cues from the body language and the sensitivity that was afforded when being pressed up against someone. Plus, with her fast reflexes and impressive depth perception, it made it that much easier for her. This was the new kind of guerrilla warfare. At its finest.
Where the streets had once been empty, Sara was oblivious to the fact that there were now several survivors and a crowd of undead crawling along the streets looking for human flesh to feast upon until they found more to tear open. Now that she had found something to shield her from the cold she took to the bathroom to look for medical supplies in hopes that she might find something more suited to her wound than material she had ripped from her clothes.
Sara placed her gun back into its holster that she was sure that there were no undead in this house. She opened the cabinet above to sink and was delighted to see that there were still bandages. She let out a sigh of relief and reached out for them and started to undress the puncture in her stomach, but she did not have time to start dressing it once more before she detected movement from behind her. She quickly pulled her gun from its resting place on her hip and turned swiftly. Her eyes narrowed as she scanned the doorway waiting for the figure to reveal themselves, knowing that it must be human because the sound it had man. The undead made involuntary noises but this noise was focused and had clearly tried to get her attention.
Soon enough the woman revealed herself and Sara kept her gun up, looking down at the wound that presented itself to the stranger. It made sense for her to ask if she had bitten, it was usually the first question a stranger would ask someone new and especially since she was sporting a wound that was too stubborn to heal without proper treatment. Sara shook her head and looked back up at the woman. [b “Not bitten, just injured. Human can be more dangerous than the dead.”] She said as she shifted her weight, keeping her weapon focused on the woman. [b “I don’t come from anywhere. Not now at least.”] It was clear that this stranger was trained and used to having authority simply by the way she held herself and the way she spoke.
Suddenly, the silence around them was filled with the sound of chaos on the streets and she no longer seemed to care about the woman before her as she rushed over to the window as watched as a man made his way through a crowd of undead, striking them with his weapon. [b “Shit.”] Sara turned towards the woman and bit her lip. [b “Don’t suppose you brought company with you, did you? There it a whole swarm of undead out there.”] Sara shook her head. [b “We don’t have time to figure out whether we can trust each other. We need to get out of here.”]
She quickly put down her weapon to wrap the bandage around her waist so that it was at least protected while she fought her way out of here, with or without the woman to help her. Once she was secure she moved past the woman and started down the stairs. [b “Are you coming?”] She asked as she checked her weapons.
Damien had been a viking reenacter for some years before the apocalypse happened. during this time he learned the ways of life for the hardy nords. learning how to smith his own weapons and armor. fighting in a hand to hand style called glima along with swords, axes, shields and spears comes naturally now, making his use of a bearded ax, riot shield and M16 with bayonet quite deadly though he can just barely hit the broadside of a barn while shooting with it. in the mornings when coldest he would run at least a mile while chanting killing any undead that would come meet him. so long as he didnt bite of more than he could chew he'd be fine as he got his exercise. most people don't run for exercise anymore but Damien makes it a point to do so while in full kit.
noticing a survivor ahead of him and a pack of zombies beyond he might be able to take them on if the other survivor helped. though he was always cautious of people and there was no guarantees any would help for the sake of his exercise. Taking a knee he pulled off his jacket and slung his rifle along with a four pocket USGI bandolier of magazines over his back. tying his jacket to his waist he picked up his shield and pulled his ax from his belt and began hooting and hollering as he beat his ax and shield together as he advanced. this seemed to rile the dead into a frenzy like walking sharks. as he noticed this Damien to fell to the frenzy as his chants became louder and faster as he beat his shield in time.
now at full sprint he runs past the survivor in the street and clashes into the mob of the undead, his shield taking the blunt of the force as his ax comes down to drive into the skulls of his enemies before him. as downed zombies from the initial impact began to rise he bolstered his shield to hold off a wave of nearly six on his left as he dealt with two more attempting to flank him on the right. eventually he couldn't hold the weight of the zombies aggainst his shield so he backed off three steps before presenting his shield and bashing a few in the face as he steped forward again. fighting with ferocity unbeknownst to even most men these days. each swing he gave was rejoiced with a cry of valor as he dwindled the mob by nearly a head every three to five seconds.
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