I drove straight from the television station to the next destination stopping only long enough to deal with basic needs. The summer was coming through spring and the heat baked my skin, welcome warmth from the winter. Zees don’t freeze; the snow and ice hampered their movements and often trapped them in locations they couldn’t shuffle out of. With the melting snow, bodies weaken by rot flooded down locations and formed barricades where unchecked swollen rivers had over reached their banks. Without mankind’s constant grooming of the world around him nature was taking back what was once wild and slowly erasing signs of our existence. She tore down buildings and spread water across fields. New sanctuaries for wild life, those beasts and birds quick enough to escape the dead or clever enough to nest or burrow out of reach. Birds were making their way on their migration and it was strangely gratifying to see the plague did not result in such species being wiped out. Their travel would take them into areas that were ill prepared to receive them but I’d leave their care in whomever you believed would care for them, be it Mother Nature, a Creator or Evolution, gods of myth, religion and science. My own faith was often tested through these times – shaken at some points and strengthen at others.
Ezekiel’s words still rang in my ears; Bluetone Productions had gone radio silent. Before KSAT TV had hit the airwaves there had been Bluetone. The lone voice out in the wastelands unregulated by the government, Bluetone’s DJ Jammer had brought comfort to many. Ezekiel reported that government forces had attempted to shut down this rogue radio station but been repelled. Despite enduring the dead, the Green Zone government and raiders Bluetone had persevered and now she was silent. He feared the worse and was sending me to scout out and help any survivors. I didn’t hold out much hope which probably made it easier for me to agree. Sure why not go see another ghost town building in a world filled with ghosts towns. At worse I’d have a horde to avoid or evade, nothing I wasn’t used to facing as I travelled from safe house to safe house. As a sister station and having been inspired by Bluetone’s boldness Ezekiel wanted to know the fate of Bluetone. Not to mention it would make a half decent story which he wanted to break the news on.
When I arrived outside of the city where the radio station had been located, my own radio having been static to that point sparked to life with a crack and then a howl. It was a full on wolf howl, startling and nearly sent me off the road as I slammed on the breaks to stop my jeep and listen. The howl ended and a voice started speaking, “That’s right kids and kittens this is Lone Wolf sending out a distress call to all you crazy little hunters out there. This is Bluetone Productions and we are under siege. Listen up kids, you hear that pop crack and smack? That’s my hero and yours, Jammer up on the roof popping zee heads like bubble wrap. We’ve been at it for five days now and the hits just keep on coming. I don’t know how far this broadcast is reaching but we are SOL if there are not some friends out there and that’s just not the way to send us out. Again this is Lone Wolf, and I’m about to get back up to the roof but in the meantime here’s a few songs to warm your heart. Now hurry your asses up folks, Lone Wolf until the next break.”
Her voice cut out and I stared down at my radio as the music chimed in, “Going Out West” by Tom Waits. Shaking my head slightly, I found my fingers tapping the steering wheel in time to the music. Was it a pre recording? Was the station already lost or was that a live distress call? My foot hit the gas pedal before my thoughts could finish. The throaty tone rang out from my window rolled down as I came up the main street. Ahead I could see not just a horde but a mass of zees unlike any I had seen since the start of the plague. I hit the brakes and stared for a few moments. There was something wrong with them, wrong in a way beyond being the dead and moving. I couldn’t quite place why. Staring at the crowd of zees which slowly were starting to take note of me I saw my first proof of life in the dead. That is to say I saw there were survivors at the radio station when one of the zee’s heads exploded into a chunky mess spraying zees around him. “Wave of Mutilation” by the Pixies started up and I cranked the radio.
I started to sing under my breath as the crowd of zees started to sway and turn to look towards me. When four or five had their full attention on me they broke into a run rushing me. My heart slammed into my chest and I realized at that very moment what had been wrong with these zees. Their level of rot was way off. These were fresh dead, or fresher dead. Probably no more than weeks to a month old they were capable of running faster than most people. I had just broken the dam.
The horde turned from the building and charged me. I pulled the car into reverse and hit the gas, turning to look behind me to drive as fast as I could. A few flickered glances in front of me confirmed that I still had the full force of the horde chasing me at speeds that shouldn’t have been possible. Where could so many people have been hiding and killed in a short time frame? Shaking my head to abandon the thoughts my focus returned to driving. Driving in reverse was not my strong point and it didn’t take long before I hit some cars abandon in the street. Unbuckling from the jeep I scrambled to exit, eyes scanning for where to take a stand and my fright so potent that I mistook the roar of a bike with the racing of my own blood thrumming in my ears. The sharks had shadowed me, despite my urging them to stay behind at KSAT TV.
I didn’t wait to hear disapproval on how I was foolish but threw myself behind a large shark hugging him. He peeled out and started to circle the block. The zees broke in confusion, a portion charging into my jeep and climbing inside. They seemed to be attacking the jeep it’s self when I looked behind me, tearing at the seats and parts within. Swallowing hard I watched as a smaller number pulled from the bulk and continued to chase after me and the Sharks on bikes.
No longer in control in direction or fate I could only watch, but much like fish schooling the sharks seemed to work together on instinct guiding their bikes up to the steps of Bluetone Productions. The doors threw open and they didn’t pause but raced straight into the building still on the bikes. The roar of engines echoed in the lobby and the slick surface sent the bike I was on sliding on its side dragging both me and the rider along until we hit the wall on the far side by the elevators. Behind us people were barricading the doors again while others rushed up to help us out of the wreckage of the bike. A few seemed hesitant or fearful of the Shark but they pulled us free none the less. I sat there in a daze staring towards the doors that soon had fists pounding against the boarded windows from the outside. It took Thomas James two or three times to get my attention before finally I looked up at him. “Hello, good to see you’re with us again. I’m Thomas James and might I say as rescues go this wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. You okay? You hit your head, or broke your leg?” Gingerly I flexed my leg and shook my head negative. It was sore, bruised and probably cut up but not broken. “Great, then let’s get you all upstairs. Jammer’s going to want to see you.”
Standing seemed difficult, and I stumbled a few times attempting it before one of the Sharks got impatient and scooped me up. I didn’t resist but stayed quiet while we walked three flights of stairs and into what was a radio station with all the equipment one might expect. The next figure to approach holding a cup of hot tea for me and I recognized the moment she spoke. “About time we had someone new to interview, please,” Lone Wolf continued, “drink. I put a shot of whiskey in there to help calm your nerves.“ I gave a grateful grin and started to sip the tea as Thomas replied.
“I wouldn’t bother with an interview I think this one’s a mute.”
The sharks snickered at that idea and one of the laughed, “As if we were so lucky. You get her started and she won’t shut up.” I narrowed my eyes at them and contemplated flicking the tea in their direction. Likely the only thing that stopped me was the thought of wasting the whiskey.
Finding my voice I finally spoke, “Ezekiel sent me. He was worried since you’ve gone dead on the airwaves. I didn’t pick up your broadcast until I was about a mile away.”
Lone Wolf swore under her breath and gave Thomas James a worried look, “Jammer is going to be so pissed off.”
“I’m already pissed off. What’s going to have me even more pissed off than how pissed off I already am? The FCC decided to fine us for indecent speech on zee head splatter? They can kiss my ass!” My eyes turned to look at Jammer, an angry looking man with a rifle.
“Jammer, no honey nothing as mundane as the FCC, it’s the broadcast, it’s not reaching outside the city. Everyone who can hear it is already inside the building other than the dead rocking outside and their keepers.” My ears perked up at the term keepers.
“What happened here? Those are fresh dead, they are way too fuckn’ fast!” My eyes flickered between the two radio hosts.
Jammer rubbed the back of his head, “about four… shit five days ago now, two trucks with the full rigs pulled up into the street. We were thrilled, figured it was supplies. Worse case bandits we could pop off and take their gear. Only what came out wasn’t living. These fuckers in black robes came to the back and opened up the doors. They walked right up to the front doors and got down on their knees. The bastards just stayed there while all these dead poured out of the rigs and ran for them. Now I’m not shitting you, they didn’t even cry out when they got torn to shreds. Then all the dead were there trying to get in. We barricaded our doors best we could after that, but it was dicey for the first few days.”
“Next thing we know the rigs started to move off leaving the dead behind but that wasn’t the real betrayal.” I could hear the loathing in Thomas James voice, “While we were all dealing with the unexpected visitors knocking on the doors, windows and walls of the building, the drivers of the rigs sent grapple hooks up to our dish. They pulled out and tore it down, crippling our signal. We’ve been trapped inside ever since and they left us here.”
I sipped the tea thinking over the scene. It could only have been the Cult, though that begged the question why? Obviously they didn’t like a radio signal they couldn’t control. “So you’re screwed then? The tower is completely down?”
Jammer’s grin held a hint of manic need within, “Oh we’re not completely dead sweet heart. See the dish tore off but the tower stayed up. We just need a new dish and Thomas James here, he can reattach. He’s the one who’s been keeping us on the airwaves so far and he’ll get us back up and running.”
“Yeah honey, that’s if we don’t starve out here first.” Lone Wolf’s tone held a hint of hope, her eyes on me.
I muttered under my breath, “So we need to get past a horde, get supplies, get a new dish,” Thomas James helpfully broke in.
“We can get a dish from the radio station across the city. It’s all shiny waiting to be picked up.”
“Get a new dish,” I repeated, “all without joining the friendly flash mob out there.” My hand raised to run over my head, “No problem, give me a couple minutes to think. I’d hate for Ezekiel to think I cheated him out of his fuckn’ story!”
- Safe House:Bluetone Productions
- CVC Level: 8
- Current Recorded Members: 24
- Overall Opinion:Bluetone was a first for me in that my opinion was formed on them before I had a chance to speak to a single member for any real length of time. This is odd for me as I try very hard to not use the words of others to judge a group, but in this case it was hard not to. It began with me lamenting how I hadn’t gotten to Bluetone yet. I had decided early on that they would be featured as my TV station, but then KSAT was formed and took their place. I knew how I would link them together and the progression to a radio station was smooth, but as these parts of the story were weeks away it pushed back Bluetone’s date further and further. The friend who listened to me talk about this started to tell me his opinion of Bluetone starting with their history. I learned how they are an old Safe House within the game and many a level 51 has passed through their doors. From that I noted that they may be a transition house, a place to level up in comfort before joining safe houses that deem themselves as “serious”. But as I talked to others and in the course of conversation brought up Bluetone something struck me as odd. Not a single person outside their safe house had a bad thing to say about any of them. Not one. It was practically unnatural. This week I spent a fair amount of time lurking, listening and chatting with members. I discovered that they have kept their core membership. People who have left told me that of all their travels Bluetone is the most fun group and the one that keeps them laughing and encourages them to have ties back to their original home. I’m not just talking random players here, but players from known houses such as ATCO, Grind House, ATCO Centre, Rite Aid and others gave me glowing recommendations about Bluetone and further encouraged me to feature them as soon as possible. It’s not uncommon for people to hear of a rival safe house being featured and telling me that they are excited to see what gets said, but to have so many from so many houses talk about Bluetone in such terms was very neat in my eyes. To my delight, the glowing recommendations were well deserved from the time I’ve spent within their chat rooms. I want to thank Jammer for providing this week’s radio selection (located on the left side bar). I’m hoping to continue with his selections from time to time.
- 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.