Archive for March, 2012

The mind is an amazing device that finds methods to protect the body from all sorts of harm. Going into shock can give strength to an injured person, allowing them to survive and find either help or safety in dire situations. Devastating trauma witnessed can be processed and washed away so that we can go forward and smile again. So it is with the outbreak: The survivors are learning to cope. The mind truly is an amazing piece of work.

When Drachen warned me of what ATCO had learned about, I was shocked into disbelief. But I could not argue the proof he showed me in the pictures and the bodies discovered. Nor could I dispute the death toll that was being tallied as a result. I returned home and, after the panic involving Malkoris’ possible infection, I talked over with him the new threat we could end up facing. Forget the moose cult somewhere out there in the world a madman had formed a new kind of cult: A death cult devoted to ridding the world of living humanity.

From the mind can come some of the darkest impulses given life. It was impossible to say at that point if this leader was mad before the outbreak or if it was the infestation of the dead that drove him or her to it. Nobody was certain at that point who led the cultists, nor fully what methods they were using. However, smaller safe houses were being gobbled up and destroyed by this evil. More ground that was fought and won from the dead was being taken back by the zees. The only real proof Drachen could give me was the graffiti tagging found in the areas where the living were exterminated.

Recent losses in membership from many of the major safe house communities was being blamed upon the new threat, but there was no proof that the newly formed safe house where these members had gone, Grind House, was behind the spread of this phenomena. Nobody wanted to attack and remove Grind House without proof, and reviewing the data I was provided did not convince me that they were the ones to blame.

Following our return to Terry Fox, Malkoris and I decided to search our territory for any signs of the cult. I had shown Malk the symbols seen on the walls of desecrated safe houses. We both decided not to talk to Beebles about this issue. It would have given her one more thing to worry and obsess on. By mid afternoon I was feeling confident that we had not attracted the attention of any new horde of zees nor any sinister cultists. Most of the territory divided up between me and Malkoris that I was to cover had been searched. It was not until I was right on the border, a border that stretches out into the wild ruins not yet cleared, that I found the sign I had so desperately not wanted to see.

I took out the spray can that Shark City tattoos had traded with me and covered up the symbol. In defiance I wrote in the paint with a red can the word “LIVE” in bold brash writing. My mind wondered briefly if red was the best color to use, the color of blood. But blood is part of what keeps us alive and has been a symbol of life and living in many cultures and religions. It fit. Though I would not discuss this with my fellow safe house members, I was a believer, and to see a perversion such as this cult caused me to feel ill at heart. Had we not seen enough already? How much bad can man bring upon himself?

With that task done, I headed for home, needing now to connect with Malkoris and to discuss how we would strengthen our defenses. It was no longer feasible for Terry Fox to remain at the CVC level of five but we would have to push into the level six bracket to build up our strength. When I arrived Malkoris was at the bottom of the stairs to greet me. “We have two strangers with us. Beebles has seen them into quarantine and gotten them food.”

In my mind’s eye I saw the symbol that had been sprayed on the wall. “Have you taken a look at them yet?” Malkoris shook his head which could only mean one thing. Both were likely female and therefore it was agreed upon that I would do any infection examinations for women, as he would for men. I headed up the steps telling my companion, “I found a marking. What about you?” His eyes looked at me before narrowing slightly. Again he shook his head negative. Perhaps that was a good sign, to only find the one so far.

In the quarantine room two women were there to greet me. One looked older than me while the other was barely out of her teen years. The elder spoke while the younger would not meet my eye, “hello, we have been waiting. Beebles said that you led this small group. We’ve come looking for lost groups like yourself to tell you that there is a safer place to be. A place we are all gathering.” I flickered a look between them and noted that the younger woman raised her head enough to look at me before very slightly shaking her head. Was it a sign or just in my mind? How could I be certain at this point with my own paranoia?

“We are content at this point here, thank you. And if we need to flee there are other safe houses that have promised to shelter us. Which safe house do you come from?”  I held my breath waiting for a response.

Again the elder woman spoke for the two of them, “it is very understandable that you want to be cautious. We are much the same, since what we have to offer is a vaccination, a cure for the plague. And I know you no doubt have your doubts about my words,” no kidding I doubted her, “many have tried to sell false promises, but this is truly the real thing. I’m so confident I will demonstrate it on us first.”

If I had any doubt that something was wrong before, the look of terror on the young woman’s face as she scrambled back from the older lady was enough. In her hand the old woman had a needle, the liquid within some greenish black concoction. I brought out my .22 pistol and pointed it at the crone, “how about you put that down on the table.”

Her eyes never left the younger woman. The expression upon her face turned, twisting to something malicious from the kind, almost motherly appearance it had been. She spat on the floor, a gesture that the young woman jumped back from as well. “Traitor, betrayer, you will never join your family now in the Glory!” Her arm rose up and at first I thought she was going to plunge the needle into the young woman. I prepared to fire, only surprise stopped me as she struck her own body, her thumb pressing down to push the foul liquid into her blood stream.

The young woman rushed towards me, “we need to get out of this room quickly! It won’t take more than an hour for her to change and she’s going to be infectious sooner!” The old woman’s head turned to follow her progress and with a shriek she launched herself towards us both. I felt my finger squeeze the trigger and my arm jerked from the snap of the bullets leaving the gun. Three shots, blam, blam, blam, straight to her chest sent the woman to the ground at my feet. Briefly, I saw the man who was dead in the ATCO office and the cool expressions of those who had executed him. I could not maintain that indifference and twisted to the side to hurl up what little was still in my belly.

The young woman spoke, “you had to. And you can’t stop there, she will rise up. She’s one of them now. Just like them all. Just like my family now.” I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and grimaced. Standing straighter, I looked down at the body of the woman and fired off three shots into her head. Beebles and Malkoris raced into the room to see what had happened, weapons drawn. I drew in a breath and used my foot to roll the woman over, looking for the needle. With a cloth I picked it up and placed it in a box. ATCO will want to see this, and likely so would Rite Aid.

Again it was the young woman who spoke first, “may I have some food?” There was silence, “please, it’s been three days. They wouldn’t let me eat.”

With a more gravelly tone I spoke, “You’ll stay in this room. Beebles bring her food, do not approach her. Strip down out of everything, because I’ll want to inspect your gear as well. We’re going to get rid of the body first.” I gestured for Malkoris to help me and we started to carry the witch out. Tonight was going to be a long night and I better get some answers.

Thank you Colors in Los Angeles for giving me permisison to use that great image from your site!

I cannot think of a day I have spent in the CVC Global chat where there was not at least one person who asked how to do a whisper, or direct communication with another person. While most who have stumbled into this site by now know how to perform this task I am going to still present a detailed explanation on the matter. The next while might see more of these simpler tips while I work on the more detail charts which are taking longer to compile.

First thing to note is that like CVC’s Global Chat (and unlike Safe House Chat) whispers cost a chat token to perform. They are still limited by a set amount of characters so messages cannot be extremely long. You can see how many tokens you currently have at the bottom of your chat window. (See Red Circle) You can also purchase more tokens using credits. (See Orange Arrow)

There are two methods of sending a whisper. The easy way (with a hidden risk) and long way which provided you do not typo has no hidden dangers. I will cover both here as well as point out possible mistakes.

The easiest way requires you seeing the person talk either in your Safe House Chat or in Global CVC Chat. When a person’s image appears in the chat list, click on their image, in order to bring up a menu of available options to choose from.

You will notice this gives you three buttons to choose from. To send a whisper you want the middle button. (See Orange Arrow) The top button will send you to view their Profile. The bottom button Blocks a fellow survivor. This means you will no longer see anything they say nor will you be able to whisper them. The biggest problem is that if you are not careful it is very easy to by accident click on the block button instead of the whisper button. Currently there is no easy method to remove someone from your Blocked list. As well you cannot view a blocked list to see who is currently blocked.  If you know their name typing into Global the following will remove them from being blocked:  “/unblock username” (without the quotations).

Now that you have clicked on the whisper icon you will see the proper text format for sending a whisper to someone. In this case Chyram is whispering Beebles. This format is also the second method you can use to send messages to people and the only way currently if you cannot see their avatar. You must type the following: “!username:” (without the quotations). It should be noted that the “:” is not required for single word names, however it is required if they have a space in their name. (Thank you, Suz and Em of Alcatraz for clarifying this for me!)

You can now write up your message to the person. When you have finished writing click on the “Post” button to the right of the message text box the same as you would for sending a message into a Global or Safe House chat.

Successful whispers will create a notification window with an Okay button to let you know the message has been sent. (See Orange Box) If you make a mistake spelling the person’s name a pop up window will alert you to this fact. Sending messages can take two to three seconds long when the servers are busy.

If you receive a whisper there are two places you can see it. The first is in your notifications that appear at the top of the screen. This will flash briefly in orange text. (See Red Box) The message will not remain there long and it is easy to miss this notification while doing other things, or if you are not staring at your screen.

However you can also find the message in the News Feed. (See Orange Box) Messages stay in this window for some time. The exact length I am not certain, however if you leave the game and come back they disappear. I have not yet found proof that messages sent to people who are not online will be received so be cautious in assuming someone saw your message if they do not respond. There is no special notification, or flashing movement to alert a person that they have received a whisper. I have on occasion not noticed for some time when someone has sent me a whisper for that very reason. Also note that there is no place to see what messages you sent and who you sent them to.

This covers all there is currently on whispering to the best of my knowledge. All information here is subject to change depending upon UI adjustments from Massive Damage.

When you’re surrounded by so much death the mind becomes numb with shock. We have been so desensitized to violence that after awhile some deaths turns out to be pretty funny in retrospect. Or at least for those who see the incident from the outside. Sometimes it is the things that you hear that are funny when you cannot see what is happening. Like hearing a clown punched in the face might make an amusing honking sound but seeing a clown beaten isn’t as funny. Then again I suppose it matters on the person, and perhaps the clown.

Most of what we have retrieved of late has been video recordings. However this week what we found was only an audio recording, likely some sort of instrument within a helmet being used to protect a hunter’s skull cap. Others have put video to the recording to interrupt what we heard.

I give you the fifth episode of Zombie Survival Bloopers:

When I arrived home I felt a sense of dread at the expression upon Beebles’ face, because such an expression is reserved for those who have gotten sick or who have died. While she did not appear to be either, Malkoris was nowhere in sight and my heart dropped into my stomach. I had only been gone seven days and I had left the two of them alone longer than this before. Immediately self recriminations attacked my mind where my doubt plagued me. If I had taken them to a bigger house maybe this would not have happened. If I had not gone and stuck my nose into other people’s business I would have been here to change the outcome.  All this before even knowing what had happened to Malkoris.

Earlier in the week word reached me from Rite Aid that the world was changing, but how that change was happening they were not certain. On patrolling the border of Terry Fox heinrich stepped out from behind a shed using an old rag to wipe the blackish blood from a recent kill off his blade. “Chyram, have you heard about ATCO movements throughout the valley, and into Shark City tattoos?”

This was the first I had heard of ATCO leaving beyond their borders and raiding skirmishes. “No this is news to me. Any idea what it is they are doing with the Sharks?” I could think of a few scenarios and none of them ended well. Perhaps the Sharks had struck out against ATCO? It did not seem like a move that CIHUILO would endorse, however some of his fellow members are hot blooded enough. At the same time none of the other safe houses have the genetic technology that the Sharks were hording. Perhaps ATCO decided to come and take what was not being shared?

“Just thought you should know since you seem to have a thing for the fish.” heinrich’s smirk was twisted from a gash that ran from a corner of his mouth up the cheek. The skin peeled back a little, leaving a red slash that marred his otherwise handsome and human appearance.

I muttered, “I have been judged for having friends more odd then that.” My pointed look at the Rite Aider only resulted in a laugh as a response. He nodded his head and turned to leave answering, “When you find out what they are up to, let us know.” Since when had I been promoted a mediator between Rite Aid and ATCO? At the same time I knew that the houses had a friendly rivalry between them. I am merely a safe neutral party that happens to be accepted by both. This likely meant that Rite Aid had been told what ATCO was up to but wanted verification. Lovely!

This is not to say that I was answering summons when I left Terry Fox and headed towards the Sharks, but leaving I did none the less. My concern was more for the Sharks at this point. On arrival I found Drachen had been sent to the Sharks among others. Over the last week ATCO had been spreading out among the houses in an effort to improve relations between the safe houses. Shark City tattoos, Oxford School, Asgard, The Colony and Bluetone Productions all had received guests as well as many more. From what I could see it was a friendly exchange of companionship and information but Drachen pulled me to one side for a conversation. There was something far more important in what they were doing. We talked about the purpose of ATCO’s ambassadors and what information I could give them in private regarding that purpose. What I learned gave me knowledge that I was eager to bring back home. But all that I had learned left my mind from the greeting I received when I arrived back at Terry Fox.

“Something has happened to Malkoris, something bad. I think he is sick or something. He has been talking crazy.” My blood curdled and I bite back the scream that I could feel bubbling up in the back of my throat. Forcing a calm tone more to keep Beebles from breaking down than anything else, I asked first to make sure she had followed our established protocols.

“Yes, I took him to the room we set up, he did not argue with me on that. He is sitting there now. There are no bites, and he does not have a fever but Chyram, he is talking crazy.” I brought up my hand, “alright… Bees why don’t we go speak with him and sort this out.” My heart was starting to slow down. Perhaps this wasn’t as bad as Beebles was suggesting. It would not be the first time she had over reacted since the crisis. However, other times we had dismissed her fears and suffered from it, losing people or gathered supplies.

Entering the classroom that had been turned into a holding chamber I found Malkoris seated on a mattress with his back to a wall. I could see that the last few days had not been kind to him. There were cuts and scrapes, and one of his eyes was quite swollen, likely from a punch. He had a bandage over his head. I looked at it with a thoughtful frown only to have him growl out, “it’s not a bloody fuckn’ Zee bite. I got brained.” Realizing his word choice was unfortunate, Malkoris hastily added, “with some kind of bat. I got hit in the back of the head by a person. A fucking moose person!”

Beebles and I exchanged a look that got him to groan. “Come on, you talk to shark people for pete sakes!” I shrugged, my eyebrows rising. Alright he had a point. I took a seat across from my companion with Beebles collapsing beside me. “Okay Malk, tell me about these moose people. You mean they have heads like moose?”

“No! No that would be fuckn’ stupid. Who wants a moose head? Well maybe these nutters would, I don’t know.”

“Okay take in a slow breath, start at the beginning. Beebles go get him some water.” After she left the room I looked back to Malkoris who was scowling after her. His eyes focused back on me and I could see that he was in pain from the lump on his head. I cracked out some of the aspirin to pass over and he swallowed using the water Bees returned with. If anything that concerned me again. Malkoris was notoriously stubborn about not wasting pills unless he absolutely had to take them.

“You were gone two days. Supplies were running low, and I thought it is about time we had some fresh meat. I took one of the bikes, a rifle and head out to do some hunting. I road up towards Hope, but the roads are in bad shape. Lots of cars left on the Freeway. Hell there are Zees trapped inside some of them still trying to get out. I made good time heading towards Alberta and when I found a small road with signs towards a town called Creekside I took it.” I remained quiet listening as he continued.

“On the first night I made camp in an area easy to defend. There had been no crawlers and no walkers the whole day. I had no idea what was keeping the area clear but it was safe. I made a fire and used this stone structure I found. I figured if any Zees showed up I’d be able to defend myself. So I’m sitting there at the fire when I heard this sound.”

“A Zee?” Beebles broke in. She got a glare and was instantly cowed into being quiet again. The two of them must have been exchanging words since he had come back.

“No it was no fuckn’ Zee. It was unlike anything I had heard before and it was close. Then this big white face comes out of the dark. Not human, but this huge nose and these antlers, with these blue eyes. It was this big fuckn’ white moose. I figured it was going to trample me or something, so I grabbed my rifle. Besides, moose meat, I figured I hit the jackpot.”

I wisely decided at this point to not question how he expected to safely bleed and dress a kill the size of a moose by himself and continued to listen. “So I brought up the rifle and lined up the shot when it happened.”

“When, what happened?” I asked.

“When some fucker hit me from behind and knocked me out that’s what happened. When I woke up I was in the middle of their camp. It looks like some sort of resort town, and it is full of these crazy moose people.”

“Moose people but not with the heads of moose,” I helpfully inserted. “So more like centaurs but moose not horses?” Malkoris’ look towards me had me questioning my own sanity. It was a pretty stupid statement to make, but then again I do know non dead Zee like people, shark people and we are dealing with the walking dead on a daily basis.

“No,” his tone was starting to turn into one as if speaking to a particularly slow child. “It was a group of people who had formed some kind of moose cult.” That statement was not making any more sense than shark people. Again though, there really are shark people. I suppose my expression showed my doubt because he looked agitated. “I know how insane this sounds. Trust me I know, but there is over fifty people in the woods worshiping this big white moose. They have turned this small mountain town into a fortress. The whole group of them follows a woman named CarlyMJ. Seem to treat her like some matron figure or something, and what she says goes.”

“So what happened when you woke up then?” I was trying to keep any of my judgment from my voice. Just how hard had he hit his head?

“I woke up in this big cage. It was one of those walk in cages you would keep a big bird in, like a macaw. Guess they took it out of the vet clinic there. They were having a bonfire and celebrating a festival to having saved their sacred moose from another threat.” Malkoris rubbed at the bridge between his eyes and sighed. “Look, one of them, called herself misfitmeow, she brought me food and drink and we got to talking, her and this CarlyMJ. I guess after the crisis most had left the town to head to other areas. Those that stayed fought off the dead that showed up. Then about six months ago a child in the town got cornered by a Zee. Only out of nowhere they said this big albino moose charged out and smacked into the Zee. It stomped the poor bastard into the pavement and then turned around and left again. They took it as some kind of sign. They formed this cult of the moose and have been protecting it ever since. From Zee, from hunters like me and other wild life this cult won’t let anything happen to their moose. They even managed to domesticate some of the moose in the area to ride.”

I cleared my throat, “Malkoris, I am pretty sure that is not possible. Moose are not exactly the friendliest creatures. They do not domesticate. When you were in the woods did you eat any mushrooms?”

“No! I did not eat any fuckn’ mushrooms!” Malkoris leaned forward towards me when roaring this, “I saw them on the moose, alright? I did not believe it myself. CarlyMJ even claims that the moose have their own burial ground. You know like an elephant graveyard. Apparently these are fuckn’ special moose.”

I crinkled my nose but tried to sooth my agitated friend, “alright, moose people. A cult of the moose, and you were in a cage, so what happened then?”

“They partied well into the night. Drinking beer and sitting around the bonfire. Eventually I convinced one of them to let me out to use the pit toilet. When I got out, my guard had gone for another beer, and I slipped out. They probably didn’t notice I was gone before morning and I didn’t stick around. I headed straight back home, and when I got here, you still weren’t back. Beebles stuck me in the room and well now you’re back.”

I rubbed at the back of my neck. A cult of the moose, could I believe this? No, even after all I had seen there were stretches on how far I could reach. “Beebles go unpack the supplies I brought. Malkoris I’m going to have to follow the rules and look you over completely for any bites.” I shooed Beebles from the room and waited for Malkoris to strip down before checking him over. “You know I am having a hard time believing you right?” He probably got drunk, or ate something he shouldn’t have. Hell, maybe he even took drugs and does not want to admit it. All that mattered to me right now was that my friend was showing no signs of infection. Already my mind was returning to the threat I had learned about from ATCO.

In the darkness from the window a sound came into the room and I spun to stare out into the night. “What the fuck was that?!”

Malkoris’ tone was very grim when he responded, “that was a fuckn’ moose. Guess they tracked me home.” We exchanged looks and I left the room to let him redress. A cult of the moose was out there in the woods. Friend or foe remains to be seen.

  • Safe House: Creekside
  • CVC Level: 7
  • Current Recorded Members: 67
  • Overall Opinion:Most of my interaction with Creekside has been observation in Global Chat. There have been a few exceptions who have spoken directly to me either in the game or through email and helped answer some questions. The biggest question I was seeking was not one I could come out and ask directly. I have watched Creekside in Global and read postings in the forums where they have been both defensive and aggressive with some of the other top houses. While on the most part it’s in a joking manner there is a definite edge in their tone. This left me with two possibilities. Either I was observing a group of young teens to young adults acting out online, or I was dealing with a group of people who hand bonded beyond how you can online. I’m very pleased to find that the protective nature I have observed comes from true bonds of friendship. Many of Creekside are found in British Columbia and Alberta and some have even gotten together to meet in the real world. They do have members in the USA and other provinces of Canada as well as Australia and France. Creekside is in the process of attempting to plan a Safe House trip where they will meet up in Vegas. To attempt such an event takes a lot of organization and devotion to their group then many invest in a game like this. That brought back memories of times I used to gather with guild mates in MMOs for a geek weekend, the likes I have not experienced since EverQuest. So knowing that these are people who have gone beyond the game to form true bonds of friendship I am willing to ignore a lot of the aggressive behavior I have observed in Global, as it transcends smack talk and into something more. I would recommend this as a safe house to consider for people who are looking for that sort of experience and bond. They have communication kept private for the Safe House alone as well as some public channels. Perhaps in the future I will be in some of those channels, and I hope to continue to develop them in the lore I’m writing.
  • Communication: Palringo Room (Contact within CVC or Forums for exact locations), Safe House Chat, CVC Global Chat for Safe House invites (1/2 fees when invited), Please Stay Calm Forums, Creekside Blog (Currently a bit dated however their scribe is returning)

I do not like to be a complainer. In general I try to avoid it when possible. It is not hard to see the wisdom in starting someone with a pocket knife before handing them a sword, or a baseball bat before giving them a machine pistol. Bigger weapons are more expensive to maintain and to upkeep. Giving a rookie something too powerful is more likely to get themselves or their friends killed then Zees. That being said, when the rookie becomes more of a master refusing to give them a razor instead of a butter knife is just cruel.

So I have a problem with how the CVC hands out holiday promotional weapons. This has led me to having a holiday dilemma. I will talk about the problem in this week’s tips and tricks and let the reader decide for his or herself what he or she will do regarding the potential issue.

Here are the facts that I have been able to confirm from sources written and verbal:

  1. During holiday times special requested tasks come from the CVC. (Quests)  I have now seen a Christmas version, a Valentine version and now a Saint Patrick’s Day version.
  2. If you complete the task list, which is not easy to do, you are given a special weapon. This is the only time of year that weapon is available.
  3. There can be other beneficial items that can be gained by killing the holiday Zees. I know there was talk about some items being looted from Zees at Christmas time. I do not know if the other holidays also had extra “gifts”.
  4. In addition to items, the tasks give large amounts of experience towards your level, both for completing them and for the special Zees you need to kill, such as the Christmas Elf or the Leprechaun Zees. In some ways this allows for “power leveling” yourself.
  5. The weapons come in different classes ranging from Class I to Class X confirmed though there may be bigger classes now that there are bigger levels. What class of weapon you get depends upon your CVC level when you complete the task. So for example a level 20 receives a Class V weapon while a level 40 receives a Class IX.
  6. These weapons can be upgraded the same as any other piece of equipment in the game through supplies. However they remain their base class, even if you level up. For example, if you receive the level 20 Class V Bow at Valentine’s Day then at level 45 your bow is still a Class V grade weapon.

Now here is where I have a problem with what the CVC has done. I am not yet at the maximum level possible. This means if I collect the weapon I will always know I have an inferior version of the weapon on my list. If I’m still here in a year, do I get an upgraded version? Will it be a totally different weapon? Will I simply be out of luck that year having completed the task? Or perhaps I can do the task for the extras and the experience but the special reward at the end will be out of my grasp? Best case scenario would be I get a new weapon of the current class to level ratio I am at.

I have never been good about collecting a lower quality version of gear when I can get the upper end one if I am patient and wait, even if it means waiting a year. So I have skipped out this year on the holiday tasks, hoping to be rewarded for my patience next year with the more ultimate prize. But maybe instead I have just cut myself out of ever receiving this year’s version. And that really sucks! Yet I know I would be extremely annoyed next year if I am here and I find myself still stuck with a lower quality version to what is being gifted.

Promotional weapons are primarily for hunting Zees as far as the CVC is concerned. However they do contribute some to my dueling scores. This means that ultimately I could cripple myself from having the best possible score at my maximum level. There is no way to customize your abilities in this world. You either maximize on what you have or cripple yourself by ignoring skills you should work on. I simply see this as one more skill which I have been forced to wait upon for leveling.

This could have been fixed if the promotional weapons level up in Class with you. Complaining about this might get the CVC to fix the issue but I am not sure it is a good investment of my energy. Because my questions do not yet have answers, I could equally be wrong on my formed opinion in which case I have missed out on some of the 2012 bonuses for good. I do not have all the answers on this issue, but I will continue to investigate and seek them out. I recommend the reader take what he or she can from this piece and use it to their benefit. Do you see yourself here in a year? If not then it does not matter and strive for the promotional gains. If so, weigh out the possibilities and decide what will work best for you.

Reference: PSC Forums, CVC Global Chat, Direct Conversation

As long as man has walked the Earth we have found ways to show ritualistic reverence for our dead. From burial at sea, to being placed into the ground, to being burnt to ash, or my personal favorite, torn apart and eaten by vultures so that our bodies can renew life, we have shown honor to our loved ones. I can only imagine what it is like for those vultures now when they come to feed and find themselves being the feast. But here in North America, and other areas of the world, from before the outbreak to our post hellish existence there is another ritual that many of us participate in after the death of a loved one. I speak of course about the reading of the will.

In the past it was such readings that allowed you to get an insight into the family dynamic that would never been truly appreciated while the deceased was alive. For some a will was an expression of love and caring for those left behind. For others it was a last spiteful attack upon ones the deceased felt had slighted them in life. Either way it was and still is a true final word because nobody can dispute the dead. Fight them, kill their shell of a body but not really argue out in an intellectual manner the rights and deserved accolades that the living left behind deserve.

When the crisis broke out there were many who had wealth but either not enough wealth, or not enough influence, or perhaps just powerful enemies that prevented them from being in the Green Zone. You can always pick such people out in a survivor camp. They are the ones set bemoaning their fate and how unfair it is. While they are not often bold enough to state they are stuck among rabble you can see it in their eyes and the way they treat their fellow camp members. There is little privacy in most camps and often one becomes front stage audience members to social family dynamics that previously would have been only seen behind closed doors. Who needs paparazzi when we have true reality drama in front of us?

I witnessed such an event while shopping with the Rite Aid gals in ATCO’s markets. You could see by the cut of their clothes and the labels that once this family (a mother and three offspring) had big house likely with a pool and possibly a maid. The kind of house that has at least two garages and likely each family member had their own car. Andigator noted them first, nudging at ossea nodding her head towards the argument that had started. ossea elbowed frostcraft who tapped Lamoh’s shoulder, who in turn kicked at carlagsuperstar’s leg. carlagsuperstar growled out, “what? Can’t you see I’m talking?” as she and I had been discussing a backpack we were thinking of buying but her and I turned to watch the fight that broke out between the two brothers.

I would like to say it was a true gentleman’s fisticuffs fight. The sort of fight their genteel and “good breeding” seemed to suggest that they have. Instead it was a knock down, hair pull, biting fight. And biting is a very dangerous thing to use. Most safe houses will kick you out to the curb for having a human bite, even if you get someone to admit to having bitten you while not being infected. The daughter and mother shrieked and used their purses to smack the boys trying to break apart the fight but it was ATCO’s security that had to step in and pull them apart.

Turns out the whole fight was over a broken Rolex with a cracked crystal face. The watch had belonged to their father, a man who apparently was a giant among the furniture sales industry, well respected and wealthy. I hope the Zee that bite him fully appreciated just how great a man it was infecting at the time, because to hear the family wail about him to security he was apparently a giant and would have sued them all for their rough treatment of the boys. Driven from their home, fleeing the horde of Zees that had over run their location, the family had left behind most of the trappings of their station. All they had left at this point was their clothes and their father’s watch. I would have been interested in knowing how they managed to get the watch from their infected father but that part of the story never came out in the conversation. The boys had been fighting over who should inherit this bit of wealth, the elder and senior sibling, or the youngest who had clearly been daddy’s favorite. Any will that would have been written was lost to some lawyer’s office in a location now far beyond reach.

ATCO’s security dragged off the family. I would predict that they will have to learn to work ATCO’s farms if they wish to remain sheltered there or likely will be kicked out of the sanctuary and left to their own devices. It brought up a conversation between the girls and me about former wills and the rights to loot the dead. All of us have seen things on the dead that should likely have gone to survivors, if they were still alive. Engraved pendants, watches or jewelry, or items personal in nature like photographs and obvious family heirlooms are just a few of the examples we could think of offhand. Was it ethical to keep these items? Was there an obligation to find the survivors and hand them over what memories they have left?

Lamaoh, clearly a sentimental soul, argued that we should, when possible. frostcroft mentioned a time she was in an Raider scavenging party and came across a whole block that had been turned to Zee. When destroying an entire family of infected, that seemed to wipe out any obligation to even consider looking further, she argued. ossea and Andigator found the entire conversation distasteful and pointed out that having an official response might encourage bounties on the heads of Rite Aid members, especially if they have rival family members out there. I had remained quiet through most of it but carlagsuperstar turned to me and asked my opinion.

I was not truly comfortable responding. These ladies, with their near undead appearance, were among those I counted as friends. However there have been times when I felt guilt at what I took from the dead, imagining how I would feel if my mother’s favorite ring was returned to me or a picture of my brother and his wife came into my hands. I did not even know if they were alive or dead. “You guys all know that I have been reaching out in radio and on the CVC to as many as I can.” I started talking slowly at first, sounding out my own thoughts. “I came across two researchers from a group that call themselves Zombease. Decent folk really, you can send in requests for research and they will respond. I’m actually waiting on a response from them now regarding a Zee question I had. Anyway, they talked about the ethics of looting the dead and if it is grave robbing. I joined that conversation briefly and from that I was directed to a card they have created. I am using it now.”

I dug into my pocket and pulled out the card to show them. It is my official last will and testament in pocket size format. It released any obligation from the living to hold back from looting my corpse, should I turn into a Zee. The girls crowded around and peered at it before glancing up at me. One of them muttered, “I’m not sure they got all the indicators correct.” ossea put her hand on my shoulder and added, “Don’t you worry, if it comes down to that, Rite Aid will make sure you get a proper burial.”

I smiled in response and looked towards where the fight had been, the family long since gone. “Yeah well, if it comes down to that, just make sure Bees and Malk don’t turn into dumbasses over my gear. They already know who should get what in any case.” And that is really what it is about. We do not have time for lengthy legal documents anymore. Life is too fleeting and too precious. Focus on the living and being alive, and as for the dead, be practical. Take what you need, not just what you want, and look to who can best use what is offered. Most of all, talk about your possible death with those you love. It is an uncomfortable topic, but do not leave it for them to decide and fight over when you are gone. They will have enough to fight against just to keep living.

Thanks to the researchers at Zombease for allowing me to use their created Last Will and Testament. I look forward to seeing your research on my oddball question!

When you’re surrounded by so much death the mind becomes numb with shock. We have been so desensitized to violence that after awhile some deaths turns out to be pretty funny in retrospect. Or at least for those who see the incident from the outside. There’s something about celebrities that have always caused society to be fascinated by their downfall. This hasn’t changed with the new world order of the dead. In fact if anything they have become trophy kills for those hunters “lucky” enough to be in areas with concentrated zombie A-listers.

This clip came from scavenged safe house remains down near Hollywood. It was sent over the CVC wire to us by another survival band who happened to find some glee in it. Personally I would like to note that as soon as members start talking about how willing they are to kill each other upon turning Zee you know dysfunction has set into the group structure. As if we who live are not all somewhat dysfunctional already!

I give you the fourth episode of Zombie Survival Bloopers: