Posts Tagged ‘Shark City Tattoos’

As I was walked down the hallway to the elevator, a real working powered elevator, my mind raced to all the steps that had brought me to where I found myself that evening. I had truly thought I had been clever, worse I had been over confident. I was in a cold sweat at this point, uncertain what I could expect. Mercy? Did these people even remember the word anymore? Understanding? It certainly wasn’t written upon their faces. I had not listened to the warnings of others and heeded their reputation. Now I only had to wait and see what it cost me.

Three days before the longest elevator ride of my life I was back at Terry Fox. By this point every waking moment that we didn’t spend gathering supplies or killing off Zees within our territory was spent gazing at the information on the CVC. It was there, a stray comment from Pinkersnitch that drew ATCO ITek to my attention. I tapped the screen, wincing as it flickered and turned a shade of purple for a few seconds until Malkoris smacked the back of the monitor. He grumbled at me, “stop screwing with it, we traded our last spare screen with the Sharks.”

I nodded again, “I know. And we’re down on medical supplies as well as coffee. I have been watching people talk about these ATCO people. More than a few have been complaining about their raiding parties. Sounds like they have a small city at this point hold up in their safe house. We can probably get some decent items traded.”

Beebles was quick to point out the obvious flaw in my idea, “with what? We don’t have anything of value to trade back.” I grimaced in response answering, “Then perhaps I can find out what they are lacking and we can focus our scavenging on such?”

“You mean focus on the needs of another safe house so that they hopefully give us what we need rather than focus on our own needs?” Malkoris logic was sound but my temper was frayed at that point and I snarled back at the both of them, “we have already combed through everything in our territory. What is left is too infested for us to get the supplies. And frankly more allies won’t hurt us.”

Beebles voice was a whisper I barely caught, “unless they hurt us. We’re the little guys.” I felt safe ignoring her comment since it was clearly an internal thought spoken out loud. It took me another day to convince my adopted family that my idea was a good one to pursue. It took another half a day to talk them out of joining me and allowing me to head to ATCO on my own.

So it was that when I entered ATCO’s territory I traveled on my own, and my pack was already extremely light in supplies. I had managed to avoid most Zee encounters and upon entry to ATCO I found the territory was well patrolled. When I got near the office that they had taken and turned into a city base I entered a nearby building and climbed up onto the roof. From there I crawled to the edge and peeked down upon the entrance to see what I was facing. ATCO had fenced off all around their building where it was open to the street. They had two large tankers in front, one clearly marked fuel, the other water. There was a lineup of people from other safe houses entering and purchasing both forms of supplies from ATCO. As I watched, each person approaching had to surrender weapons and display some sort of ID before being permitted within the fence to make their purchases. I did not have such an ID badge but from my advantage point I saw a weakness in the fence, small enough for someone my size to take advantage of. I could see the snipers on the roof and the fence line was patrolled by men in riot gear armed with guns. They had everything but dogs.

My approach to the fence line took more time than I had wanted. There was a patrol on bikes to avoid, but I was able to mingle with the crowd in the line. A fight broke out down the line when someone turned Zee and attacked their fellow traveler. That crisis diverted further attention and allowed me to get close to the fence and then in. I had made it. Or I had trapped myself, at that point I wasn’t certain which. Making my way up to the front doors, I joined the line and was permitted inside with a group. The bored guard at the door seemed to assume I was travelling with their party.

Wonder of wonders, the bottom two floors of the office had been turned into a market. Maps displayed information and I got to see what ATCO had built within the building. After the markets several floors had been turned into housing, with a buffer floor between the market and housing to deaden the noise and provide a security zone. Following housing there was a military like complex and the top floors were council member quarters and meeting rooms. The roof of the building had a garden, having brought soil up to boxes on top. There were even ramps leading off the ATCO roof to several nearby buildings where additional gardens had been planted. Rain catchers on the roof helped provide the water for these gardens. ATCO wasn’t a safe house; it was a city the same way that Rite Aid wasn’t a group but a travelling camp. Both Houses near equal in strength but playing upon the abilities of their members to survive in this new world.

I heard the soft click and felt the barrel press to my ribs as a quiet voice spoke near my ear, “let’s keep this without making a scene. Head to the far wall, press the button for the elevator.” Too afraid to even see who was holding me captive I obeyed the orders and walked to the elevator. Once inside, I got a look at the man in the sharp suit with a winning smile and a glock. Drachen introduced himself before saying, “we have been watching you approach. It was very cute to see you duck and weave among the buildings.” I felt my face flush in embarrassment at my failure to remain stealthy. He laughed and not unkindly continued, “it was a good attempt, however our surveillance is by far better than your …. Ninja skills.” He winked and gestured with his gun towards the door as the elevator slide to a stop. The doors opened and I left to walk down the hall towards a conference room.

A gun shot sounded and I jumped in the air letting out a sharp scream. Drachen’s hand landed on my shoulder to hold me in place. We paused a moment before he muttered, “alright, keep going.”  At the end of the hallway I stepped into a conference room. There to greet me was another man in a suit, now cleaning a gun and a third holding a baseball bat. On the floor was a body. Not a Zee, and notably not rising back up like a Zee but a man dressed as ragged as me, a survivor. I stood there shaking as Drachen gestured to the other man in the suit, “Supremacy,” and to the man with the bat, “wiredl0ve, this is our unexpected guest.”

Supremacy glanced up at me before bring out a file folder on the conference room table. He flipped it open and read aloud, “Chyram of Terry Fox Elementary. Fellow safe house members, Beebles and Malkoris. Designated CVC level 5 Safe House.” His eyes looked up into mine as if asking if any of the details were wrong. I nodded my head in response and dare not speak. wiredl0ve’s voice had a slight accent I couldn’t place as he asked, “mind telling the representation of the Council of ATCO why it is that you felt the need to bypass our protocols?”

My eyes dropped to the carpet before quickly looking up at the men, though not quick enough to miss the spreading of blood from the body beside me. “I don’t have anything to trade. I just came to scout to …” my voice died hearing all of Malk’s and Bee’s objections to my having come here in the first place. Supremacy nodded his head once before scribbling some notes into my file. “I would suggest we put her in on the green card, level three. Not to pass the militarized zone of course.”

Drachen, whose hand had not left my shoulder, spoke up in an amused tone, “I agree. This mouse is hardly a threat, and they are spread out far enough we might get some use out of them. Not enough to actually raid of course.” wiredl0ve merely grunted his agreement before giving the body on the floor a small tap with the toe of his boot.

“What did he do or not do that I didn’t do or did do?” I wasn’t even certain I was making sense at this point. wirel0ve however seemed to take enough pity on me to answer my question, “what this meat? He’s a spy. Was a spy, from the Green Zone. They don’t like that we’re rebuilding out here.”

Supremacy spoke without looking up from the paperwork, “just because society has fallen apart is no reason that we need to. We’re all civilized here, aren’t we?” I could hardly disagree with that thought despite the dead body at my feet. After all there isn’t a survivor alive on this side of the wall that does not resent and feel betrayed by the Green Zone. “There finished. Don’t lose this card. Also if your other members come in your stead they must bring this card with them, or go through the proper paperwork at the gate.” I took the card from his hand and slipped it into my pocket. Looking at the men, I sought confirmation that I was permitted to leave before turning for the door. I had just opened it when Drachen’s voice spoke behind me, “hey Mouse, remember next time use the front door and knock.” I nodded quickly without turning around and headed down the hallway.

When the elevator doors opened up I nearly bumped into a man leaving dressed in leathers. He had a bag in his hand that smelled rank. I heard one of the men down the hall call out, “sLicKtOShOtTa, here to collect on your bounty then?” Quickly slipping around him to enter the elevator I reflected that the bounty hunter didn’t give me as much as a second glance before heading down the hall with his grizzly collection to be paid. If I felt small before, it was only reaffirmed then.

When the elevator doors opened for the second time however I was greeted with a sight that nearly caused me to burst into tears of relief. Strange as it was to see their ghoulish faces, Lamaoh, ossea, frostcroft, Andigator and carlagsuperstar were standing there grinning. They rushed forward as I stepped out of the elevator to surround me and hug me. From them I learned that ATCO had assessed my threat by speaking with Rite Aid, and that the Raiders had vouched for my reputation. The girls gently rushed me off from the elevator and towards the market food stalls for a day of shopping. This whole event, the return to shopping in a mall like atmosphere with a group of giggling girls was a strange parody of the past and very comforting.

 

  • Safe House: ATCO Itek
  • CVC Level: 8
  • Current Recorded Members: 126
  • Overall Opinion:You don’t get and keep the top slot by being nice to everyone all the time. It’s not surprising that I have heard complaints about ATCO, as I have with Rite Aid, indeed most of the top five Safe Houses. However, I have my own personal experience to go on, and that is what I’ll express. Members have either ignored me, or been gracious with me. And that’s not a complaint! I would much rather be ignored than treated abusively if I have annoyed someone (and I know I’ve picked on some of them in Global Chat) or if someone doesn’t want to use the game in a social manner.  Those who choose to speak with me are friendly and I have been welcome on their forums in the guest section. They have provided a fair amount of tips on their message board however I would rank their tips second to Rite Aid at this time. I do find their forums a bit messy to try to sort through, and the turnaround for response can be slower than Rite Aid, however, they have given me feedback in areas that Rite Aid did not so patience with their message board can truly pay off. My interaction with them has been limited to Global Chat, whispers and their forums at this time. From what I have seen they eagerly support and defend one another as well as their reputation. Notably there is a section that appears to be a “hit list” of players to avenge against which is not open to public eyes.At the same time there are elements within the Safe House that have pride in having “the most banned and most muted members.” It is rumored that many who have spent a fair amount of real money in the game have invested into ATCO and there is a voice of authority that results when they speak, deserved or not.  That is from the passion of feeling ownership in the game, and a true interest to see it continue in a manner that they enjoy. I appreciate this fact because without such players supporting, and sometimes pushing developers, the game can be lost. Softer casual player voices do not always promote change. I am touched that recently my site has been added as a Friendly Safehouse to their website and appreciate the support!
  • Communication: Palringo Room (Contact within CVC or Forums for exact location), Safe House chat, CVC Global Chat for Safe House invites (1/2 fees when invited), Please Stay Calm Forums, ATCO Website

 

The following morning started calm enough. We separated to cover the various tasks to maintain our safety. Malkoris took to patrolling the borders of our safe house looking for shufflers and crawlers. A shuffling Zee is easy enough to outrun but in numbers they can box you in and it only takes a single bite to infect you. Crawlers are in many ways worse. You spend so much of your time looking up and about that you might miss a crawler coming in from rubble at your feet. Often over looked or mistaken for dispatched Zees left to rot a crawler can surge forward on its hands and bite into your calf. Therefore it is vital for your safety to always be aware of your surroundings as you walk and to keep pathways clear both for escape and to prevent any accident ambush. Beebles gathered debris to use for firewood. This task brings its own dangers as broken fences and homes where the easiest pickings for firewood are found often have a Zee or two lurking about.   Both of my companions however are accomplished at completing these tasks on their own and I was left with the final task, gathering food.

My feet took me towards the nearest residential homes and away from the super markets. By now survivors have picked through the major super markets and little is left on their shelves but the buildings often have trapped Zees. Restaurants are not a whole lot better for either supplies or Zees. What is left usually involves rotting food that had been once fresh and if you are lucky living scavengers in the form of rats, roaches and other vermin. It is not just the virus that turns you to the walking dead that we need to be aware of. Many illnesses that have been basically unheard of in North America are making a comeback due to poor sanitation and the amount of corpses lying about without proper disposal. Illnesses such as cholera and typhoid are on the rise, and common bugs once handled with vaccines are a risk like measles. Tuberculosis, strep throat and many forms of influenzas are being talked about among survivors. Other illnesses which are common when the body becomes weak are appearing without proper support from doctors like pneumonia. It is vital that we maintain our safe houses as clean as we can, disposing of our waste and garage and ensure that our food and drinking water is clean and free of illnesses. Proper refrigeration has become a thing of the past so gathering food on a nearly daily basis has become part of our routine.

In my travels I came across a family who have holed up within their home. They have chickens, live chickens in their house that are laying eggs. I traded several bottles of clean water, the seals unbroken for a half a dozen eggs knowing how much it will improve the spirits of my group when I bring them home. While talking to the family I learned of a safe house in the distance, accessible through following the railroad tracks, they have taken shelter in a place named Shark City tattoos. If we’re going to survive it is important that we gain allies among other safe houses, or at least identify those we can and cannot trust. There may come a time in the future when the three of us will need to abandon our safe house and retreat to another. Though it would cost me time and risk keeping me out past dark, I travelled on foot to see the Sharks.

The first thing I noticed when I crossed into Shark territory was the graffiti. Walls were spray painted with their tag, as well as directions given warning of where zombies were penned up, and locations for shelters in case you are being chased. I approved and even silently applauded the preparation this group had taken into consideration for travelers in their territory. I made a mental note that we should do much the same. Yet as much as I was impressed by the intelligent layout and methodical preparation shown as I was guided by the tagging to their safe house nothing could have prepared me for the introduction of CIHUILO.

The Shark City Tattoo had two guards from the roof who called upon me to identify myself before I was allowed entry. Nothing strange about that or the fact that I had to roll up my sleeves and pants to prove I had no bite marks upon me. Not that you cannot be bitten in other areas, but this sort of standard basic check is now expected for entry into any safe house. Most will demand a more complete and intrusive exam if you wish to remain sheltered within. Entering the front doors I was greeted by CIHUILO whose cold dark eyes and sharpen teeth took me aback. I was so frighten by the appearance of his face the realisation that his skin was a steel bluish tingle was lost on me. He offered me a toothy grin and before I could run I found myself flanked by two of his loyal and equally toothy companions. They escorted me to a room and sat me down at a table. I was offered coffee. Coffee, the nectar of the gods, and something I have gone without for far too long.
CIHUILO explained to me that his safe house all participate in genetic mutation testing. They have been injecting themselves with shark DNA which has changed their features in the manner so obvious to my eyes. Rows of sharpen inhuman teeth and eyes as cold as night looked upon me. Their skin was bluish in color and a few of them believed it to be stronger than human skin offering minimal protection. Despite their inhuman appearance it seemed as if the majority of them maintained their minds and spirits as human, though some circled in the background silent and watchful upon me. I kept myself still and quiet, polite keeping back any sarcastic comments that usually pass my lips so readily.

CIHUILO encouraged me to consider staying and bringing my other companions into their fold. I have to admit the temptation was strong, as safety in numbers was appealing. Yet finally I blurted out what was on my mind, “I’m not sure I can. Look you have a great place here, and you seem like good people. But in the end, these experiments you are doing, aren’t you worried what it might cost you in your humanity?”

My decision was made for me when one young girl, only beginning to go through the transmutation spoke up, “humans? What so good about being human? What good has being full blooded human brought the world? Look at where we are at now?” I stayed long enough to speak trade with the safe house and made my excuses to leave. On the long walk home, racing the sunset to beat the dark I considered those words. The little shark girl was right; being human did not stop any of this from happening, and perhaps even caused it in some way yet unknown to me. But that did not change a stubborn part of me from holding onto who I am. Maybe I would be the full blooded human who brought something to this new world. Or maybe I would die to the teeth and clawed fingers of the dead and it will be those who smell blood in the air who will circle about and bring the needed change to save us all.

  • Safe House: Shark City tattoos
  • CVC Level: 4
  • Current Recorded Members: 41
  • Overall Opinion: Seem at first pass to be a friendly group of people. No direct contact beyond 1.5 members and observation in global chat.
  • Communication: Palringo Room (Contact within CVC or Forums for exact location), Safe House chat, CVC Global Chat for Safe House invites (1/2 fees when invited), Please Stay Calm Forums