Posts Tagged ‘Zombie’

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:

 

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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:

 

We made it nearly halfway back to Bluetone when the call came in on my headset, “We have a problem. Ladder got bent when it fell. It’s not supporting anyone’s weight. Hold back, we have to find another way to let you in.” I hit the glass of the window to stop the truck and waited for my driver to slide open the window to talk to me.

“We can’t approach yet, call came in from Jammer. They can’t get the distraction working, hold on.” Nervously we both sat in the truck, me in the bed and the Shark in the driver seat. I was more nervous about the Cult activity that had recently been through then any zees that could be about. In fact I was so nervous that I nearly shot the leader of a group of people when the party came out from between two buildings. My shotgun jerked upwards and my finger tightened on the trigger before realizing that I was looking at the living. One of the group members, a woman with hair in a pixie cut tipped in hot pink, saw me about the same time as I saw them and pushed the man in the gear of an armored soldier down and out of the way. The shotgun blast hit the wall over and behind him scattering chips from the brick upon the rest of them. There were some startled yells and shouts before a few guns raised in response. Fortunately they had more self control than I and seeing me surrender my gun, hands in the air, did not shoot me. “I’m sorry, I thought you were well,” I hesitated, “someone else. Did anyone get hit?” My wide eyed, white faced look of panic seemed to relax the soldiers somewhat and assured them I hadn’t meant to harm them.

The woman who had responded helped up the man on the ground and snapped out, “anyone bleeding?” The group looked themselves over but it seemed that their gear had taken the brunt of chipping from the wall. Her eyes turned upon me in anger, as she snapped out, “what were you thinking?”

“Pinkertonb5, easy,” The man’s tone was smooth, and controlled as if he was attempting to defuse the situation.  “We’re all jumpy, seeing how there is far too few living among the dead, right friend?” When he turned his gaze upon me I tensed up again. Despite his easy going tone I could feel myself being evaluated, though I was not quite sure what for. I swept my look over the people in the group and realized I was facing people in government issued military gear. I don’t know how I broadcast my fear, but he seemed to sense it. I blinked and he had a gun in his hand pointed at me, “easy now, we don’t want to make any other sudden mistakes, just take a deep breath. Nobody here wants to hurt you.”

There was the unmistakable sound of a gun cocking and the eyes of several members turned to the cab of the truck. Their guns turned to swivel for my guardian Shark within. I hadn’t realized that I hadn’t lowered my hands yet until that point when I realized they were growing tired, “alright, alright! Hold it. You say you aren’t here to hurt anyone. Fine, then what do you want?”

His eyes hadn’t left me despite the threat of the Shark, “We’re passing through looking for a radio station that’s supposed to be broadcasting in this direction. Do you know the location?”

My own expression tighten somewhat, “Not sure I can help you friend. Who sent you?”

Nodding his head slightly, he answered, “We seemed to have gotten off on the wrong foot here. I’m Night Angel. This is my team. We’re just looking for information.”

“You mean you’re looking to see if there are any survivors of the Cult attack so you can finish them off like the last of your troop who came through?” My tone was accusatory.

Looks were exchanged among the group before a different man piped up, “Wait did she just say Cult? Night Angel what the fuck is going on here?”

I drew in a breath and asked bluntly, “You’re one of them aren’t you? The hit squads being sent out from the Green Zone to slaughter those of us who are not just survive but managing to thrive?”

Night Angel brought one hand up in a fist motion, “Lower your guns.” The group as a whole did so though I saw from the corner of my eye that my Shark companion did not return the courtesy. I can’t say I blamed him, as he was more likely than me to receive persecution from humans. “We are not a part of Paladin but clearly you have either seen or heard of them. Well armed men in black uniforms, geared beyond what most out here have? Perhaps you’ve seen even government documentation with them?”

I hesitated before nodding my head, “I’ve seen a few scraps and had a dust up with two once, but mostly they leave me alone. Most of what I know I’ve heard from others. I don’t think that the Green Zone feels I’m a serious enough threat given that I got my hands full as is with the Cult.”

The second man who spoke earlier responded, “Again she said, Cult, what the hell is she talking about?” Pinkertonb5 smacked the back of his head and I heard her grumble, “Protocol Jogman, Night Angel asking the questions.”

I passed my eyes over the group, “There’s been a fanatical Cult formed. They are creating zees among their followers. They’re being led by a man named Charles Wagner. The group recently performed an organized and planned attack on Bluetone Productions, the radio station you’re looking for. They disabled the broadcast. In fact we’re trying to get back there now with the equipment needed to put her back on the air. Jammer’s waiting for us but they’re surrounded by a force of fifty to a hundred zees easy. That’s what is left over from the attack.”

Night Angel frowned in response, “A Cult. This is new to us but we have been focused on Paladin and their intentions. Brian S, that dish is looking pretty rough, take a closer look at it, do you think it’s still serviceable?”

One of the soldiers detached from the group and came forward to climb into the bed of the truck with me. He inspected what we had collected before reporting back, “I don’t know sir. I don’t think it will. The dish is cracked and I think some of the wiring has been torn inside. Also this antenna looks like it’s been bent all to hell and back.” My face flushed in embarrassment.

Night Angel brought his hand up to run it over his short cut military styled locks. “Alright, we need into Bluetone. They might have information and they can spread our broadcast if we need it. None of that will matter if they don’t have a usable dish. I assume you’re taking this crap there because something happened to the one they had?”

“Yeah, the Cult happened. They tore it down with chains. I think that was the main focus of their assault.” My nose crinkled as I responded.

“I can see how this Cult has your concern. Keysha get on the radio and contact the base. See if Furie will authorize us shipping out a dish here for Bluetone. Thomas420 has been taking stock in the RnD labs. He’ll have the best idea of what’s surplus for us.” A soldier who looked surprisingly young to me nodded in response and turned to one side, getting on her radio. I couldn’t catch the conversation from where I stood. In the few moments that I had been talking to the group there had been a flood of names and it was becoming difficult to track who was doing what.

“Of course that doesn’t solve the problem Bluetone is in. We’ll come in and help you clear out the entrance. Should be enough of us for that if there is some decent cover?” Night Angel’s question was directed at me.

“I think so, if we approach from the south and take to the roofs. Also we can let them know we’re coming ahead of time. They have speakers and can draw the attention to the front.” This plan wasn’t nearly insane enough for my liking. Much like I would expect from a group of soldiers dealing with a civilian, they had come in and taken over.

“Alright, let’s get you folks back home and then I’d like to hear more about this Cult. Brian S break out the stealth field generators. We need two for these people.”

“I’m actually not from Bluetone. I’m from Terry Fox, and my companion is Sharks Tattoos. We were coming to check on Bluetone after contact was lost. Ezekiel from KSAT-TV sent us.”

“A television station as well. Keysha pass on that information, we need to pick up that signal and monitor for any information on Paladin.”

Keysha nodded her head and went back to talking for a few moments before responding, “Furie has cleared the transfer. She’s going to have Thomas prep the equipment and crate it properly so there’s no damage in transportation.” I bit back a growl and reminded myself the focus was the benefit to Bluetone not any perceived invalidation of my efforts. It wasn’t that I was jealous so much as that I felt our risk had been for nothing. This group would have appeared and Bluetone would have been restored.

Swallowing my pride I spoke again, “You should probably know that as soon as they come back on air Bluetone will be a target again, either by the Cult or Paladin. They have repelled at least three government attacks.”

Night Angel was clearly interested in that information, “This Jammer might have decent intel for me then and we should consider stationing some assistance if they are willing to accept it to see what else we can learn. Thank you for that information. You two ready to go put down some dead?”

With the aggression levels I was dealing with I was way past ready! We led the group around to the roof on the building to the south. I contacted Jammer and tried to explain our situation only to have my headset taken by Keysha so that she could take over communications. She was able to get in thirty seconds the information that would have taken me five minutes or longer. She also coordinated our attacks from the roof. Others with better battle experience could describe the fight but when the dust settled nothing moved by the living. I spotted Jogman more than once giving the Shark a wide eyed stare, clearly not sure what to make of him, but none of the rest commented upon his appearance. I suppose in this day and age they had seen way more odd things out in the field.

We united with Bluetone outside their front doors and Jammer received the news that he had a brand new dish coming with joy. That it would be a few days delay; well that wasn’t such great news. He went back inside to lament his woes on the radio as limited as the reach happened to be. I suppose when you’re used to having an audience you cannot see hearing your words there is a need to keep talking to them. He was a DJ that had a connection or lifeline to the world outside his booth.

The FEMA members as I came to know them gave me supplies for the trip home and even helped me get the SUV to the radio station from where we left it at KSAT-TV. I knew that Night Angel was thankful for my contacts since I was able to introduce him both to Jammer and Ezekiel. That soothed my ego. I was starting to take this hero business too seriously.

Promises were made, news of the Cult would come to me and news of Paladin – well I didn’t need to borrow trouble. Maybe if I stop the one threat I can turn to focus upon another but for now government assassin squads was in someone else’s hands.  

  • Safe House:FEMA Region 6
  • CVC Level: 6
  • Current Recorded Members: 43
  • Overall Opinion:It was then with some panic that I realized over halfway through the week I hadn’t yet contacted a group to feature them. Two safe houses pulled through for me in record time. The response of the members made it very easy to figure out how to feature each and when. The only reason the one was chosen first over the other for this week was because of the nature of which they represent. This is the order they best fit into the story. This week I’m featuring FEMA Region 6 whose blog I have been following and whose members I’ve been observing in Global. I’ve seen them be active in Global Chat, and I’ve talked with a few members. I have yet to see (which isn’t to say it hasn’t happened) any of FEMA’s members act like jerks in Global Chat. Perhaps that doesn’t deserve mentioning but I have to say that not every safe house can brag about such a record, including my own. Though in my case, I’ve been the jerk in Global. When their membership found out I wanted to document them this week they made the effort to contact me and tell me all about their group. I was impressed not just with the number that contacted me but the speed which it happened. Within fifteen minutes of the announcement that I was looking for members I had more talking to me than I could speak to at once. That left an impression not just how eager they were to promote their safe house but how they were in touch with one another. In addition it showed off how active their membership is. Most of the membership is Central Time Zone (USA) but they do have some members from other parts of the world. Least half talk in chat and they have an active PAL room which I’ve had the privilege of being included in. More activity happens during the week during the day rather than the weekend or at night suggesting the membership has a healthy balance of life outside this game. If you’re in their chat room you can leave messages for people during the night and they will be in touch. Most of the time conversation in the safe house chat does not rate above PG. I have found their membership to be friendly and eager to invite new members into their ranks. I look forward to Night Angel’s interpretation of this story when he presents FEMA Region 6’s side to the events described.
  • Communications: 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, FEMA REGION 6 Blog

I have a limited skill set just happens that the skills I have gathered have been serving me well since the dead started to walk the Earth. Traditionally those skills should be such as scavenging, or shooting a gun. Perhaps skills with fixing machines or farming would have served me equally well but all those skills I possess either in limited fashion or not at all. I cannot farm and while I have scavenged enough to keep alive I’m hardly a master at finding food and supplies. Fortunately for Terry Fox’s safe house Malkoris keeps finding ways to keep our larder full. I cannot fix a car and my skills at changing a flatten tire are questionable. How lucky it is then that the world is full of abandon vehicles rusting away by the side of the road who might smell a bit ripe and might cage a zee or two but are still serviceable. I can’t seem to hold onto nice things, for example that incredible SUV that Tenda Foot went out of his way to get for me. While I’ve killed many a zee I’d hardly claim to be a sharpshooter and instead favor the spray and pepper until they stop moving fashion of shooting. So what skills do I bring to the table of the living among the dead?

Quick wits, insane luck or blessed by fate, and crazy ideas. None of those sounds particularly useful if they aren’t combined with the other skills but I have one last ace up my sleeve. Somehow I usually manage to convince others to go along with my ideas and so far it hasn’t cost anyone their life. That might be part of the reason they keep doing the things I suggest. We needed out of the building but all exits were entrenched with the dead hitting the walls or pushing against the doors to enter. What they needed was bait, something to draw them out and that was what I wanted to give them. When I presented the idea I could see the look of doubt in the Bluetone Production member’s faces. To my relief it was a Shark that quickly spoke up and agreed to be the one placing his life in danger. He pointed out rightly so that we only had one functioning bike at the moment after all.

As a group we headed to the roof gathering up what supplies we could along the way. Once there measurements were taken for the gap in the alley between Bluetone and the next building. My suggestion had been to find what we could in timber within the building but Jammer recommended something sturdier without rot, like a ladder. Several were carried up, large ladders normally used for tasks like changing light bulbs and fixing ceiling panels. Laid across the gap we tied down the ladder on our side and turned to our volunteer “bait”. “Sharkbait, ohh, ha ha,” I muttered under my breath as I helped tie ropes around my companion in case this went horribly wrong and the ladders fell.

I heard him laugh and grumble back quietly, “really Chyram, ‘A Finding Nemo’ reference? You really are a nerd sometimes.” I blushed and grinned back, nervous. This was my idea, but the risk was primarily his. If it worked the path will be clear for me and my other guardian who would slip out to go secure the dish for the station. Moreover it was going to have to work twice, both to get us out of the radio station and to clear a path to let us back in. Certain now that he wouldn’t fall into the zee horde we were preparing, we strapped a small speaker to his back. I stood back and watched as my idea went into place breath held.

It had started with a really stupid idea. How do you move something that is stubborn and single minded? Something as stubborn as a donkey – how do you move a donkey? You dangle a carrot using a long stick and a rope dangling in front of the beast’s face. Slowly he lowered himself off the side after tying off the rope at the midpoint in the ladder, until he dangled off the ladder suspended between two buildings. In theory if the ladder fell he would hit the side of the building and we’d pull him back up. In theory he should be completely safe. Lone Wolf peered over the side and turned to give the thumbs up, he was in place. Thomas took off in a run to get the speaker playing the station’s music, drawing the eyes of the zees upwards. Fresh meat, right there, just out of reach, spread the word you damned corpses!

I hesitated before approaching the side, peering down as the music roared beneath me. From below the smell or rot carried upwards on the breeze overtook my senses and I had to force back a gag. The alley was starting to swell with the dead. With some worry I could see the first problem in my plan. The alley was a choke point, a narrow passage. The zees with lesser strength were being pushed down and trampled, crushed beneath the weight of those stronger that climbed upon their backs to reach for him. In a way they were building their own ladder up towards him. My driver growled, “I checked the front, it’s clearing out, we better go, we don’t want to give them too much time to build upon that hill they have going.”

Together we rushed for the stairs and headed for the front doors where we’d be let out. It was a really stupid idea. Why were we doing it? Oh right, nobody had a better one. At least this way some of the dead should be mangled beyond mobility. It was a crappy way to thin the herd, but it was something.

In the lobby he prepped his bike even as Thomas shoved into my hands the instructions on how to remove the dish safely. We were going to need something bigger than a bike to bring it back but the radio station across town would either have vehicles or we would find one closer to the location. Climbing on back of the bike with the tools in my backpack I held to the guardian shark. I couldn’t see anything past his bigger frame so everything was reduced to smells and sounds. The doors banged open. The rotting smell of the dead wafted into the lobby as guns cracked taking down stragglers on the front door. The bike surged forward with the smell of gas and exhaust, squealing tires upon the lobby floor. I heard the crunch as we went over at least one body lying upon the entrance outside the front doors even as they slam behind us. The bike thumped down the steps and peeled off down the street even as I heard a loud bang and clanging sound. It sounded a lot like a ladder falling and then following it were gun shots.

My hand came up to the headset Thomas had given me and I pressed the button barking, “report!”

“Ladder down, the dead climbing up it. Hostiles taken care off. Fishboy is back on the roof, ladder recovered for your return.” Jammer’s voice was sharp in my ear, clearly busy with what he was doing. I crinkled my nose, at the thought of the return trip. I got us out and nobody not already dead was killed. This couldn’t work twice to get us back in?

Few straggler zees were seen on the drive across town. Those we saw were old rot, nothing new from the cult and easy enough to avoid. When we reached the station entrance was going to be easy. It wasn’t that the doors were open but rather they had been torn off their hinges. I looked up to the roof where the dish was sitting and grimly brought out my shotgun. Spray, not precision, and as such my friend had best stay at my back. Together we entered the building, seeing signs of looting and a few corpses that no longer moved.

We took the stairs, heading up slowly as lighting was bad within the passage. I took the lead flashlight tapped to my shotgun, preferring to have the bigger man at my back watching for anything that followed us in. It was by some miracle that nothing prevented us from reaching the roof, though more than once we passed a floor where we could hear the dead trapped on the floor. Despite the situation and how serious it was, my focus was off and when we reached the roof we were nearly surprised by the dead man who was sun baked and brittle. My shotgun blast sent his body in many directions, mostly away from us. It also agitated the dead below within the building. “Damn it Chyram? What the hell is wrong with you? Next time I take the lead on the way down!”

I shook my head and snapped back, “No you’ll be carrying the dish. It’s too heavy for me. Don’t worry about it, I got this, secure that door.”  What was wrong with me? I kept going back to what I learned from Bluetone and the attack of the cult. That was the boldest move I had seen from them yet. They hadn’t wanted to leave behind any survivors as witnesses. Soon as Bluetone hit the airwaves again we were going to be kicking the hornet’s nest. I shook my head to refocus. Without that dish all my scattered thoughts were immaterial. Looking up I started to climb the tower soon followed by the Shark.

We used chains to secure the dish so it wouldn’t fall and be damaged and then I set to disconnecting it. The wind on the tower ripped at our clothes and toyed with taking my tools from my hands. Right towards the end the instructions on paper were torn away and sent off the building into the air. “Damn it!” I glared at what was left, mostly certain I knew the remaining steps. Wisely, likely anticipating my growing frustration the Shark said nothing but kept watch below and on the street from the tower. Finally, some skinned knuckles and one cut thumb later the dish came free and we lowered it down to the roof. It wasn’t going to fit through the stairwell which gave us the next challenge. Again over the side of the roof was the only answer we could think of. Together we strained as we lowered the dish as far as we could. Despite the length of the chain we had on the roof it was still a half a story up when we reached the end. “I don’t think we can lift it back up.”

“I don’t think we have a choice,” he replied. “Even if we do bring it back up, how else will we bring it down? We’re going to have to drop it and hope they can repair any damage we do.”  Our eyes met, mine human, his dark and cold. I nodded my head once and we both let go watching the chain snake over the side and fall down below. We moved to the edge of the building and looked down below. It had only been a four story building. It only fell a half a story. It can’t be too bad can it? I could see that the antenna was bent and the falling chain hitting the dish probably wasn’t doing much good to the body of the equipment.

Shaking my head I grumbled, “Come on, we still need to get a truck.” The passage down the stairs was more trouble than entering. The third floor had caved in their door. Not only were their zees waiting for us on the other side of the door to the roof but the caved door was a hazard we had to climb over to get down the stairs below. As we fought our way down the smell became more intense for me and I had my shirt up over my nose. Worse for the Shark, the rotting blood was giving him a feral edge and I wasn’t comfortable with the wide grin he had by the time we exited. I could have wept in relief at how quickly we found a truck with keys. Nervous of my companion I insisted upon riding in the bed of the truck to keep the dish secure. My hand hit the headset again, “we’re on our way back, and will be twenty minutes in this traffic.” Look a joke, I must be in good spirits! “Will you be ready for us? We’ll come around back to the garage doors but we’re going to need help to bring in the dish.”

“We’ll be ready” chirped the response and I smacked my hand on the glass of the back window three times to signal the driver to go.  Bracing myself I kept the shotgun up as we headed back for the station. Thomas is going to kill us when he sees the state of the dish.

When I saw Beebles chewing on her pen I knew I had caught her at a moment of trepidation. The young woman was often uncertain about a great number of things in life, but it was rarer to find her expressing these classic Beebles’ signs while writing up some sort of form to send out for others to review. Beebles was a librarian at heart, and she always liked to have her facts in order, double checked with references underlined. If she was stuck on something it was likely because she couldn’t find the research needed to verify her facts. I folded my arms and leaned against the wall near her desk, “You know if it’s something that I have some sort of experience with,” my tone died off. I was immediately concerned it would be questions about a boy. Not to say I haven’t had experienced, I just didn’t want to have to go through the birds and bees with her or some such.

“I’m writing up tips about how to hire the best ally that works for you. Only,” she hesitated for a moment but I waited patiently letting her collect her thoughts. “Only it’s all theory. I haven’t been able to confirm any of it. It’s based on personal observation and not hard numbers. I’m not comfortable with that. Plus my experienced has been quite limited.”

I made a face, mine wasn’t much better. Sure I had allies and I’ve hired allies but only for specific fights when going alone made it too difficult. “Beebles write it. Write your thoughts, mark it as an editorial and give warning that this is all theory. Let the community dispute it if they think you’re wrong and take their feedback when offered. Adjust your advice based upon that.”

Her nose crinkled in a familiar expression. This is a thought that has been on her mind a lot of late and been bothering her causing hesitation. Yet she nodded her head and her pen went to paper to write.

I want to start this off by saying this is theory. Game theory in part along with practical thinking in game design but I have no hard numbers to give you to back up what I’m about to say. I’ll present my few ideas and you can dispute them or use them as you see fit.

First off, what is an Ally? An ally is who you can hire to fight with you for an hour. Their cost appears to be based upon their level. When you hire someone nobody else can hire them for the next hour. Half the money you put into hiring them goes to the actual player. To hire someone the following must be true:

  1. Nobody else can currently have hired them.
  2. They must be five levels bigger or smaller than you.
  3. You must have the full amount of cash to afford the hire.
  4. You cannot already have someone else hired for that hour. (Only one ally allowed at a time.)
  5. Do not expect hired allies to help you in duels. They are strictly for zombie fighting.

So the question becomes, how do you actually go about hiring someone and who should you pick? It’s very simple to hire anyone in the game. They don’t require being on your friend’s list though that makes some things easier. You must view their profile page. Here are a three ways to do this when searching for an ally:

  1. Review your friend’s list for people for people within the right level range
  2. Review your safe house member list for people within the right level range
  3. Search in the random duel list for people within the right level range. (Click on their image not duel to see their profile page.)

Once there you can view in their Personal Stats if they are currently hired. If so the words appear in green under their Hiring Fee. If not you get a value as to how much it will cost to hire them. You then select the “Hire as an Ally” button and pay the fee.

On your profile page you will see who you hired, their level and a timer for how long you have before they are no longer with you.

When you fight zombies they appear in the box at top that lists all the people in the “zone” fighting with you. This list can include people who have gone to that same zone or people from your friend’s list. Up to three non ally people can appear on this list giving you a possible total of four people helping you fight. You only have control over the ally you pick.

Now here is where I get into theory. Who should you pick when you choose an ally? I pick people who are the largest level I can get that have been maintaining their stats and upgrading their weapons. My reason for this is because I want an ally that will hit as hard as possible when they strike. I know I cannot control what weapon they use, but bigger players have better chances to use bigger weapons. In theory, if it uses their actual information, the better upgraded weapons will strike harder. I base my opinion on their skills from their Personal Stats focusing on Hunting, and Duel. Their weapon upgrades I base upon the one weapon I can see and how far they have upgraded it so far, what class it happens to be.

Does this work out in my benefit? I can’t give numbers. I can say that on at least one fight I stacked Searlait, Beebles and Malkoris into a room. I hired a fourth person who was bigger than any of them. Three of the four hit zombies for me but the hardest hitter was my hire. At times I’ve had Malkoris and Searlait in a room with me fighting zombies. Malkoris always hits harder being the bigger player.

Now you cannot control if allies will hit. Sometimes they just sit there for the full fight. Most of the time I want them there to give that big zombie someone else to hit allowing me another strike before I need to use a health pack. But if I’m going to bring someone in to do damage, I’d like to try to maximize as much damage as possible.

Note: Observed a graphic glitch where hired allies show having “none” for their health. This appears to be a bug as in this case Malkoris remained at full health. Reported bug to forum at time of this posting.

I acknowledge that some hire friends or potential safe house members in order to help them save money. This tip does not reflect those reasons for hiring a player.