Archive for May, 2012

Beebles nibbled on the edge of her pencil staring at the paper in front of her. Her dark eyes flicker up for the hundredth time in irritation at Malkoris who paced the room in front of her. “Look, either she’ll call or she won’t, but wearing out the floor in front of me isn’t helping! Go somewhere else, shoo!” He shot her a dirty look and stomped out of the room. Beebles sighed softly and peered down again at her ledger of numbers. Chyram cannot come home too soon the way Malkoris was behaving! Despite his distracting her, Beebles had finished compiling her list. She smiled in satisfaction and stood up to go post the results to the bulletin board.

Dueling for Profit

Tips:

  1. When looking for profit always look for Favorables with max values. This might take a few refreshing of your duel list to come up with your master list.
  2. Write down Favorable’s names so you can search for them faster in the future. Make a master list for your level of Favorables with the max values.
  3. Monitor your own supplies and cash levels. You must match the values of your targets and both must be the maximum value for your level to get the maximum profit. This also means you take equal risk at losing the max values.
  4. Note you can figure out the value you will gain if you do not carry your level’s maximum value by seeking the value lower on the chart. For example a level 10 carrying 1,000 cash/supplies (instead of the recommended 2,000) should gain 50 cash/supplies in a duel instead of 100. However at level 10 holding over 2,000 cash/supplies will not increase your profit in a duel until you level to level 11.

 

Chart Legend:

  • Level: Your current level. This will not necessarily be the level of your target.
  • Max Profit: The maximum amount you can win in cash/supply values off of a target at your level. Values equal (Level X 10)
  • Target Amount: The minimum amount you and your target must carry on their person in order to win maximum value in the duel. Values equal (Level X 200)
  • 10 Win Streak: A quick value of the amount you would gain if you won ten duels in a row with maximum gains. Values equal (Max Profit X 10)

 corrected error in chart

 

 

Credits:

Thank you, Rite Aid for their Dueling Guide that taught me all the basics and a lot of the details about dueling when I first got started. I’m glad your reference is still up for the PSC public!

Thank you, Label of Evil Industries Inc., Itcus of World’s End and Allie Mount of Aspi for patiently helping me figure out the late night math for this chart!

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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.

When I was a child Bambi made me cry. Perhaps it is my generation but I know far too many around my age who saw as a young child Bambi and the iconic scene of his mother’s death caused tears. Perhaps it was that childhood trauma that has caused me to have some measure of glee from this video. Whomever envisioned this masterpiece might be trying to prepare children for our new reality.

I give you the fourteenth episode of Zombie Survival Bloopers:

 

— Excerpt from Malkoris’ Journal

Previous Journal Page

I really don’t know why she keeps doing it.

I used to be an artist. I was nobody noteworthy, nobody you’d ever have heard of, but I made a good enough living at it, and you might’ve seen my name in the credits of a computer game or the occasional TV show. You know what’s not useful in a post-apocalyptic zombie dystopia? Artists. At least, not my type of artist. Sure, musicians might still have some value in raising morale or driving emotions during a fight, or creating synchronicity between riflemen. Compelling artwork might be useful for propaganda, but I can paint the most cruel picture of a zombie out there and it’s not going to suddenly change anyone’s opinion about them, especially not the zombies.

“What the fuck is in this?” she demanded.

I rubbed gently at the bridge of my nose, pinching a little to try to ease the headache she was giving me, “Just drink it. It’s good for you.”

“Then you shouldn’t have any trouble telling me what the fuck it is,” she replied. Funny thing about her: She has the mouth of a mercenary. I swear, she thinks everyone’s as foul-mouthed as she is, too. As if the onset of the end of the world as we know it is rationale for everyone to start acting like barbarians. Then again, in a way she’s right.

I answered her, “Crushed up Tylenol, ice, raspberries, and blueberries. Fresh ones.”

“Doesn’t crushing Tylenol up make them less effective?” she asked.

I replied, “How would I know?” It’s not like I’m a doctor. That’s something we could really use. Beebles and I both know some first aid, but it’s hardly pharmacy or surgeon-grade.

She grunted and started slurping the drink down.

I winced, “You’re going to get—“

With a growl, she smacked her good hand up to her forehead, “Shit! Shit, shit, shit.” Yeah. I didn’t finish the sentence, since the brain freeze had already settled in. Instead, I sighed and started to work at bandaging up her injured hand. Next time, just strangely-flavored fruit juice for her, since she apparently can’t handle a smoothie.

“So where are you headed to, next?” I asked. I wanted to keep her mind off of the fruit. It’s good, local fruit, and I really didn’t want her asking where it came from.

“Back south,” she said, “over the border again.” As if there was still a border in place. Sure, the border crossing markers were there, but any real concept of nationality was only held in the minds of those who wanted it.

“Got a trade in a couple of days ago for a pair of nice shotguns,” I replied, “so make sure you take one.”

I saw her nod before having some more of the smoothie. She paused and looked at it suspiciously. Damnit. I knew those assholes didn’t get the berries legitimately, but I don’t care. I’m interested in keeping the four of us alive, keeping the four of us safe, keeping the four of us fed and clothed and free from raiders and scavengers. We can’t all live in the ivory tower she’s in. Some of us have to do the filth trudging, some of us have to flush the sewers, or the ivory tower gets backed up in shit.

“You don’t always have to go racing off, y’know,” I said, trying to redirect the fight before it arrived. I added, “You’ve put the word out there. Let other people deal with it.”

She glared at me. If you haven’t seen her glare, I suggest that you do. It’s a good way to put the zombies in perspective and realize that they just don’t have the imagination to truly torture a man the way an infuriated woman can.

She said, coldly, “Other people are helping. It’s not just me. And it’s got to be done. You know that.”

“Why?” I asked.

The glare continued. “People are dying,” she replied.

“No,” I said, “people are killing themselves with the deranged delusion that it’s a rational decision.”

I could actually see her nostrils flaring out as she says, “People are being tricked into killing themselves, into giving themselves over to a fate worse—“

I waved my hand, “—than death, yeah. I know. So let them. If they’re so stupid—“

Do you know what’s cold? Crushed Tylenol, raspberries, blueberries, and ice. It’s cold. It’s cold down your shirt, I’m sure, but colder still down your pants. She was storming out and away before I had a chance to get my pants off before my plums turned purple. She was back on a motorcycle and off down the broken road before I had a chance to apologize. “Fuck!” Why does she have to mother the entire fucking world? And then she had me talking like a wastleland barbarian. Great.

 

I can never decide how I feel about silence. As I laid there on my pallet, staring up at the ceiling overhead, there was silence around me… or, at least, as much as there ever is. I could hear the soft hum of the refrigerators running in the cafeteria, and a faint scrabbling of some rodentia somewhere in the walls. I could hear a soft pattering of rain against the ceiling and walls of the building.

Left with my thoughts, I could lay there and reflect on everything that had happened. I could think on the lost, the dead, the damned, the walkers. I could think on those who searched for loved ones, could think on those who searched for nothing. I could wonder about the mercenaries, the raiders, the rapists, and the crusaders, the defenders, the heroes; the filthy and the clean. I could reflect on the irony that those who are filthy often have fewer blemishes on the soul than those who are clean. I could think about her out there, risking her life day after day for people who would never know, who would never care, who may never even realize when she’s killed for her efforts. When no one is yelling, when no one is screaming, when there’s no clear, immediate problem, and when the course of action is ambiguous, the world settles in around you and there’s just nothing but the sounds in one’s own mind.

I can only hope that tomorrow I wake up to screaming.

I felt the sigh leave me more than I heard it. That sensation as a deep breath fills your chest tightening beneath your ribs before releasing with a rush out from your lips. Such sighs take with them not just air but emotions and thoughts. I spent most of the morning fighting with the sharks and even with FEMA agents about my next move. We had the SUV and it had limited protection. This was the closest I had come to being on Charles tracks, the attack to Bluetone having only been a week before our arrival. I wanted to scream in frustration that we were leaving the area without trying to pick up the tracks. This was my crusade not theirs and yet somehow I had been out voted.

Night Angel had pointed out that the three of us, the sharks and I, were not going to have the fire power or the equipment to take on any encampment of cultists. It didn’t matter to me that he was both logical and correct, or even that he was looking out for my benefit, I was angry. Once again there was going to be a delay and Charles was going to slip out of my grasp. I turned my head to scowl seeing my own reflection in the glass in front of passing buildings half ruined from this plague of death. The helpful suggestions of returning home and appealing to the Raiders or ATCO for support just further numbed me. As much as it pained me to admit it, this had become a matter of pride for me. My thirst for vengeance had turned this fight personal between me and Charles with the irony being he likely didn’t even remember me.

My chest ached, a dull pain from the shout trapped in my lungs. It hadn’t mattered how much I argued, or even when I shouted. In fact when I turned around and punched one of the sharks in the nose they just lost patience with me. The two brutes were taking their obligation to protect me very serious. The one cradled his nose between his hands while the other picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. I was unceremoniously carried to the SUV and dumped into the back seat. And now we drove in silence, me sulking like a child in the back.

Why was I responding this way? Sure I had known a few who died because of Charles but likely he killed many others I didn’t know. It just bothered me to think that madness was running rampant out there threatening the fragile existence of who was left. On top of that I had spent months just fighting with other survivors to convince them that there even was a threat. Nobody wanted to hear the truth anymore. Life had been so hard of late and there had been so many tears shed for the dead both when they passed and when they were put down, to hear there was another horror was something many could not process. Yet I had known. From the first time that ATCO brought me proof I had believed without question.

So why was I so eager to believe in this threat from the start? Perhaps it was the dead that drove me into this cause. Surrounded by the zees on all sides and protecting such a small group I had felt helpless. Fighting as we did Malkoris, Beebles and I could only make a small dent in the dead and it was a drop in a bucket that never stopped filling. They say every little bit helps but in this case our help in clearing the world of zeedom didn’t seem to make a difference. It was a repeating process each day, worrying about infection, killing what was dead and hoping to have enough to fill our bellies. I needed Charles to be real. I needed a cause I could fight against, and for the first time I realized I had been a fraud all this time.

I lied to people when I told them that there was something more frightening than the zees out there. I lied when I told them how scary the Cult truly was, because somehow I was not afraid of Charles or his minions. I felt very comfortable fighting him because no matter how bat shit insane he was, Charles was a man. And in the end he would have the motives, reactions and needs of a man. That was why I had picked up this mantle and been eager to fight him. On some level I was running away from the zees to fight something familiar, a person. I was tired of being afraid of death and wanted to kill the living because somehow that felt cleaner.

I felt my stomach twist a bit at the sickness there in that thought. How I hated the dead, the zees that had invaded my world. Oh I could mimic the arguments of so many others and tell you how they were not really dead, but just meat puppets for another living organism. I could mouth the sympathy and sounds of pain about the suffering of victims in this plague but it was all faked. I hated them. I hated the clouded eyes, and their gargled sounds. I hated their stiff movements and the gapping motions of their mouths as they reached with twisted limbs for my flesh. My skin crawled to think about them and more than once I woke up screaming into my pillow because even in my sleep I was too afraid to make sounds that might attract them. Each time I killed one I didn’t take satisfaction but just additional horror that they dared to mimic humanity in their gory forms.

Charles was the cleaner kill, insanity on a human level. I wanted to kill him just to feel somehow normal again even though before this plague I had never harmed another living soul. I brought my elbow up to rest on the door and put my hand over my eyes to hide my face from the sharks. I didn’t want them to see tears as I mourned that another piece of me had been truly broken. I’ll never get back the person I was but if I was going to bury who I was I’d be reborn into something stronger. Like tempered steel, I was ready to move from the flames and my tears were like that water cooling my form.

I didn’t register the crack of the shot until after the SUV veered off the road and into the front of a store. A second shot rang out even as the shark on the front passenger side moved to scramble out. I saw his brain matter hit the glass of the window behind him on the door before his form crumpled. Sucking in breath I reached forward for the driver to shake his shoulder. My hand felt the warmth and wetness of his blood and saw then that he had taken the first hit. Confusion froze me for a moment; the SUV was supposed to be bullet proof? This couldn’t be happening!

I twisted in my seat looking out the back window. From across the street I could see figures, two, no three; each dressed in a long draped robe. One of them carried what appeared to be a rifle of some sort with a scope. My hand dropped down to the bag beside me to pull out the gun on hand. Aiming for the bullet hole that had weaken the glass I fired a few quick rounds and then scrambled to the front seats. My foot came up to kick at the glass pushing it out before I crawled out over the hood. My hands and knees were cut up by the broken glass as I rushed off the SUV and into the store, gun in hand, running.

The sound of my gun had bought me a bit of time as the Cultists took cover before rushing into the building. I had made it to the back of the store and out into the alley before they had regrouped. Looking to the left I ran, moving until I ducked behind some dumpsters. I could see I had boxed myself in and there was no where I could run. Why wasn’t I dead? I should be dead! They took out both sharks without being seen but somehow fate or luck still favored me and I was relatively untouched. Only this time perhaps much darker forces were keeping me alive.

Shaking my hand moved to the back pocket of my jeans to bring out the ear piece I had there. It had been a long time since I broadcast on the CVC. Knowing the Cult had been monitoring the CVC I had largely abandon those channels the last few weeks. Pushing the piece into my ear and turning it on and I broke into a speech, “Chyram calling out there. Calling to anyone listening! The fish are down. Repeat the fish are down and I’m trapped. The robes are here and they are coming. Repeat they are coming and I will hold out as long as I can. This is Chyram calling, if anyone is local, contact Alcatraz, pass the word. Make sure that Alcatraz hears, this is Chyram and I’m being taken by the robes. Make sure that Malkoris,” I looked up into the hooded face of a man with a white painted skull across his expression. He grinned at me and briefly my thoughts focused on the fact that he needed to brush his teeth. The rotten appearance of his mouth suited the sour smells from the dumpster I had taken refuge behind. Frozen in place I could only stare as he brought up the rifle butt and smashed it into my face. Everything went black.

Searlait settled into the middle of the beat up sofa from the teacher’s lounge. She started to pick through the berries in the bowl in front of her, looking for the raspberries over the other flavors. Her eyes flicked from bowl to the beat up television waiting for her show to start. It was the only show worth watching anymore now that most television stations broadcast either emergency signals or government programs. The static cleared and Lessifer stood in his ill fitting suit behind the KSAT TV logo that was now spray painted on the back of a wall.

“This is Lessifer bringing you the top news stories of the week here at KSAT TV where propaganda is prohibited. First off Algiers Point is attempting to repeat the wild success they obtained with their first Caption Contest by hosting a second contest. Contestants must provide their PSC screen names, Friend Codes and a caption to be emailed at the appropriate address by 9:00 pm Pacific Standard Time, Monday May 28th 2012. There is a prize announced. We’d direct fellow survivors to see the URL at the bottom of your screen for details.”

ALGIERS POINT CAPTION CONTEST #2

Quickly she scribbled down the address for the caption contest to look at later. “We here at KSAT TV,” Lessifer continued, “have breaking news on a new trend at the CVC. Ongoing sales are appearing for many of the popular products and…..”

So other than to spread the information about Algiers contest I want to quickly comment and give a very simple tip regarding the sales that have started to appear both in the News Feed and in the “Buy More Credits”. First let’s cover the basic facts:

  1. There are two types of sales, Credit Sales for real money or in game purchase for Credits
  2. Both sales bring bonus amounts and are provided for a limited time with limited supplies. For example, a sale might announce that for the next six hours 1000 Stamina pills are for sale in lots of 8 at a time for cheaper that if you bought them one at a time.
  3. To purchase these sale items you must to go the “Buy More Credits” screen, even when purchasing items with credits.
  4. Each sale displays how much time is left and how many items are left for sale. When the items run out the sale timer still remains displaying what the sale had been.

Opinion:

I, for one, happen to be very glad to see this sort of fire sale because there are times when I have a lot of credits from saving them up and not some place focused to use them. However there is a danger with these sales for impulse buying. (Which is the goal of any sort of fire sale and why they are successful.) You must view these sales as you would any sale in any store. Sure it might be a deal, but if you don’t need or you won’t use the items right away, is it worth the cost? Items that are half off aren’t saving you money if you never would have bought them in the first place! In short, there will always be another sale, buy what you need when you need it.

I hope to see the CVC continue this trend as it’s very exciting and a great addition to the game in my opinion.

Examples:

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. While this doesn’t involve death, and it’s too old to specifically involve the dead (while not being old enough to involve ancient records of previous outbreaks) but it is downright creepy. Someone dug up this old file and has been spreading it through the CVC lines as a way to share with children the importance of not biting. Not only might your child be mistaken for a zee, but who knows what he or she will pick up biting random people.

I have to be honest with you here. Even as a child I found Mr. Rogers to be more than a little creepy. His puppets were creepy, he was creepy and so were his sweaters! This clip has done nothing to help fix that sensation.

I give you the thirteenth episode of Zombie Survival Bloopers:

 

— Excerpt from Malkoris’ Journal

Previous Journal Page

“Trust me, it’s fresh,” he said. Why wouldn’t I trust him? No doubt the scar below his eye was from a zombie attack, not an infuriated trading partner who’d learned that his produce was drek.

I continued to poke around through the various crates and sacks, mostly ignoring his comment. It’s good to know what you’re getting in a trade but, more than that, I wanted a little more time to check out how interested he and his friends seemed to be in me. There were five of them. Five serious-looking, vile guys were sitting on a collection of Mad Max-grade vehicles, staring at me as I looked through the produce. Who the Hell thinks it’s a good idea to ride around on a dumbass, desert hopping dune buggy with corrugated metal welded to the side when you can just grab a proper SUV or a motorcycle or a freaking armored truck, if that’s what spins your prop?

“Brought it straight up from the Colony, it’s good,” he says, “but doesn’t mean your shit is. Come on. Let’s see it.”

It was possible, I guess, but unlikely that this came up direct from the Colony. They’re down in L.A. The produce that these asshats were trying to trade was primarily berries: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries. There were some vegetables and the like in there, but I know what the Colony produces and I know what you can get near Terry Fox; this stuff was local. It wasn’t surprising that they didn’t want to admit it. These guys weren’t farmers.

I gestured for the guy to follow and said, “Have your guys bring it up to the side of the building. Come on, let me show you the goods.”

“Yeah,” he said, “how about we get your shit first. Then we’ll move this shit in.” Oh, the eloquence. Would you like shit with your shit? I don’t give a shit about this shit. What a shit that shit did shit! Just once, I want one of these Neolithic flatliners to spew out Stevenson or Dickens or someone similarly refined just for the raw surprise of it. At this point, I’d even be thrilled with some Tolkien or Asimov.

I could live a long time without hearing another stupid Martin quote, though. “When you play a game of thrones you win or you die” or “fear cuts deeper than swords.” Ugh. Just because something’s written down, it doesn’t become a masterpiece.

As we walked down the school’s labyrinth of lockers and stucco ceiling tiles, the sound of conversation in the distance echoed around. It’s impressive how the sound of just a few dozen people talking in one room can echo in a place like this. The long hallways, the metal lining the walls, the slightly bouncy, not quite perfectly flat linoleum of the floor, all combine together to create an unexpected acoustic magnificence… and a vaguely nauseating smell, sometimes. I really have no idea what’s in each of those lockers. We’ll get through them all eventually. So far, they’ve mostly been textbooks, backpacks, and marijuana. Anybody can grow weed. Backpacks trade well, but Chy’s got this thing about going through the lockers, says it’s one step removed from graverobbing and that we shouldn’t resort to it until we need to. I think it’s a stupid argument: We kill zombies and take what they have, on occasion, which is the same damn thing as graverobbing. Still. No reason to make waves.

“You got a lot of people holed up in this shithole?” he asked.

I shrugged, “Enough.”

“What,” he said, “like you’re overfull or some shit?”

What do you say to something like that? “Yeah,” I answered, “who isn’t?”

With a snort, he muttered out, “Yeah.” Thankfully, the conversation didn’t get too much further until I got him to the trade pile. I’d already pulled out what I was willing to trade if the food was good. It was good. Chy wasn’t going to like that the raiders had stolen it from a local farmer, but I also wasn’t about to tell her.

“Oh, shit,” he said, unsurprisingly, “yeah, that’s the shit we need. All of it, right?”

Nodding, I confirmed, “All of it.”

“Where’d you get this much of it?” It’s the type of question you don’t answer honestly.

So I didn’t: “Truck one of our scroungers found, just up around Mission. Lucky find.”

“I’ll say,” he said, patting one of the packages. He then gestured. Three of his five goons had followed him in. They moved forward and I tensed, wondering if it was a smart idea to have shown up at the door without my blunderbuss. Beebles should have been hiding up in the ceiling infrastructure with a rifle pointed down, but there was no way she’d be able to take out all four of these guys without them doing something nasty in the meantime.

Instead, they each grabbed up an armful of the packages of toilet paper that I’d brought them to, a tiny fraction of the stuff kept in the various storage and maintenance places in the school. As the first one started to head out, I said to the one speaking for them, “So we’re good, then. We’ll bring your end of it in after you’ve had a chance to clear out. Try not to tarry outside, alright? Some of my guys are a little, you know… off.”

He grunted, grabbed a few rolls himself, and then was off. I waited until they were done, looked up and around until I saw the glint of the barrel that our librarian had trained on all of us, and let out a heavy sigh of relief that she hadn’t had to use it. She’s getting better with a firearm, but she still hesitates, even against the corpses. She says she doesn’t like shooting things with eyes. I’m not sure why you’d need to shoot something without eyes. Die, broccoli! I wonder if she’d shoot a potato.

I gave her a thumbs-up and made my way to follow the last one out. After watching them drive off with whoops and hollers of triumph about their new acquisitions, I set about grabbing one of the bigger boxes of raspberries. Little bastards weigh a freaking ton, you know. Lugging them back into the cafeteria, I put them up into one of the big refrigerator rooms.

By the time that was done, I was pretty sick of the constant nattering in the cafeteria. I went in and flipped the damn switch off on the recorder. The P.A. system no longer worked quite right from the main broadcasting area, but more than well enough to fool a few jackasses into thinking this place had more residents than me, an accountant-turned-librarian who can’t shoot straight, a dirty – literally, most of the time – and foul-mouthed teenage girl, and occasionally a chatty transient crusader chick with a lack of any alcohol tolerance.

At least we now had fresh berries.

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