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Krypton 28th of May, 2010 15:28

One Year Later...

Originally Posted by Poul Washburn's Diary. January 1st, the First year after Zombification
The remnants of the United States Government broadcast across all AM and FM stations today, wishing all citizens of their great nation a Happy New Year, and announced news - This will not be the year 2010 Anno Domine, but will be known as the First Year After Zombification.

We hardly celebrated Christmas. I read a Mass, and spoke the Homily, but Ammunition and Lean Cuisines hardly count as presents. There are so few of us left, and the remainder found little enough reason to celebrate.

If only the cold gave us a respite from the Flood. Even now, a keen ear can pick up their moans interspersed with the howling of the winter Wisconsin wind. They are terrible, Famine, War, Pestilence, and Death all in one. It is enough to believe the Holy Father's claim that the Rapture is upon us, were it not for faith in a Kind Christ and his Covenant with his Father on behalf of our souls.

Yet our fortress holds. Between them, Jake Doers and Jonathan Adler have constructed what so far has proven to be a nigh-impregnable fortress for humanity here atop Granddad's Bluff. This was once a park, but now it is a castle in truth - two stories of formidable concrete and bulletproof glass on top of hundreds of feet of rock.

So many of our few survivors are an enigma, but none more so than the young Mr. Doers. He is clearly intelligent, behind his gruff exterior and imposing criminal background, but seems to avoid appearing so.

On the other hand, Jonathan is perhaps too intelligent for his own good. He suffers from many psychoses, not all of which are as useful as his need for order and cleanliness. I constantly worry that one night we'll all awake to the accidental destruction of our home only to pass on ourselves in the resulting explosion.

Then there is Detective Jack Frost, who at first glance would seem much more at home in the company of the remnants of the City government in what was once downtown. After a while, however, it is clear why he has not joined them, as the young man is convince he is the Almighty's gift to us all, but especially to Law Enforcement. A less patient man than I might have flung him from the Western observation deck months ago, but he clearly is capable. And a good man to have beside you, when the Flood comes.

I worry about the last male in our company, for he seems to delight in the war against the Flood more than is healthy. We all defend ourselves as necessary, but Jeff Ritten seems to have taken his hatred of the Undead menace to cruel levels. I wonder if he won't break if, one day, he accidentally kills one of the living during one of his many 'Hunting' expeditions.

It is the women of our group, however, who have proven the most invaluable to our survival. I remember the day Ayaka pounded on our door, frantically looking for someone to take her in and protect her after being turned away by Downtown. The Greenhouse which has become her obsession has provided us with many necessary vitamins and minerals as our supply of dietary supplements dwindles. We risk bulletproof glass over stone on the eastern half of our second story solely to give her greenhouse the best opportunity possible.

The last member of our merry band is Dr. Monica Lawrence, whom has saved most of our lives more times than I could ever remember. Yet even she is so often squirreled away in her lab, harrying after a cure for what we once named The Cure. The threat of constant death hangs over us, but with Monica protecting our bodies, and Christ our souls, we fear no Evil.

We are more a family now, I think, than most of us ever had before the first Cured person died so horribly. The majority of what I lovingly refer to as my Parish refers to me as Padre, though I must admit that the young Mr. Ritten, who resists so strongly the Grace of Christ's Love, refers to me simply as Old Man, though I am barely a decade older than he.

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti,

Poul "Padre" Washburn. Survivor.

It is early on the first day of the new year when the smell of cooking from downstairs and the clanging of pans awakens each of you. Even those of you who were once late sleepers have passed on from such foolishness long ago, for the Walking Dead never sleep.

The Cooking is, itself, a special treat, and clearly someone has dipped into the remaining frozen stores of bacon, if your noses are not deceiving you. As you shamble downstairs eerily similarly to the same monsters who have destroyed your homes and lives, you are greeted by the familiar face of Father Poul Washburn, who greets each of you with a smile. He is tall, but not uncomfortably so, and his face seems made for smiling. Were he anything other than a priest, he likely would be a ladykiller, for he has been blessed with more than his fair share of good looks.

A year of survival and hard living has left him lean, but he is still immaculate in his grooming, and the collar which defines his profession is impressively starched.

"It is New Year's Day, my sheep. And holidays deserve Bacon. Another night survived, without so much as a triggered alarm on one of Mr. Frost's cameras or motion sensors even more so. And so, civilization is not entirely broken down - the lights remain on, our refrigerator is still cold, and the Greenhouse is warm despite the weather."

"Please, eat, eat. The day promises..." Padre's voice trails off. "The day promises us nothing, friends. But at least we have bacon."

AoM 28th of May, 2010 21:32

Ayaka shuffles into her seat at the far side of the table, between the unpredictable Jeff Ritten and her sole female colleague, Monica Lawrence. She wears a tattered blue wool sweater over a long sleeve gray shirt tucked into her jeans. On her feet are a battered pair of sneakers, and on her head is a black wool sock cap that pushes down on her dark unclean hair, pressing its longest strands against her cheeks and along her neck. From head to toe, her clothes and body are dirty with soil.

Her nose and cheeks are red, and she is sniffling with the coldness that pervades the stronghold during the middle of winter. In her hands is a kettle of boiled water, which she places on the table in front of her. She takes the top off the kettle, letting a warm steam cloud bloom in the center of the room like a miniature atomic explosion. From her sweater pockets she pulls out a handful of leaves - tea leaves - and deposits them into the kettle, which she swiftly covers again.

Sitting back in her chair, she begins to shiver a bit. Reaching under her sweater, she reveals a crumpled blue and bronze knitted wool scarf, which she wraps twice about her neck before burying her nose in its warm embrace. With a sigh she closes her eyes and waits for the tea to steep.

"There's some eggplant still left in the refrigerator," she says absently to no one in particular. "There's frozen strawberries as well that I've been saving. Could have that later on."

Secretly Ayaka wished for fish. It'd been a while since she'd had some. Ice fishing in the winter required a lot of patience, too much when there were zombies shuffling across the ice.

Ergonomic Cat 29th of May, 2010 03:12

As Jake walks down the stairs, he stretches and then rubs his hand across his recently re-shorn head, brushing a few stray strands off the shoulder of his leather jacket. He had "Kate" (his all purpose weapon demolition tool and "hitting things until they started working" bar) in his hand as he came down, but he sets it beside the staircase, within easy reach.

"Someday, Padre, you gotta stop calling us sheep. Sheep get rounded up and eaten. We ain't been et yet." He nods quickly to Ayaka and Monica. "Ladies." He clamps Jeff on the shoulder as he passes. "Still crazy there, buddy?* Shoot any Z's in the middle of the night?"

He waves away the bacon first, but then thinks better of it. "I hate bacon. But at least it's not K-Rations. I hate them more." He stands beside the icebox, rather than taking a seat at the table, checking it over to be sure things are still working between bites. After a several bites, he shrugs and holds the plate out. "Somebody want mine?* It's wasted on me - ain't no different from chewing on paper mostly."

He looks around, seemingly slightly uncomfortable. "I thought, since it's a new year and all, I'd do a full maintenence check on all our gear- make sure our gen is still good, check that Jack's stuff still got power, inventory our gas supplies, stuff like that. Give the cages and my bike a once over too, if I can stand to be outside that long." He scratches absently at the scar that runs from just below his left eye to his jawline, seemingly unaware of his actions. "Plus I was thinking that maybe we could push the treeline back a little more, clear a little bit more area around, just in case. Wouldn't hurt to have more firewood either. Hard work keeps you warm, you know? Could make a little fire, smoke some of that eggplant?" He trails off, looking around the room.

Spudmonkey 29th of May, 2010 06:02

Jeff checks the action on his USP as he walks down the stairs, and holsters it as he nears the bottom. As Jake walks past we responds

"yeah, got two. Bastards didn't even know what hit them, weren't even comin in this direction"

He sits near Jake and helps himself to some bacon, followed by the Remains of Jake's bacon.

"Jake. if you want some company out there I will tag along, will be easier to know what we need to scrounge if I am there when we examine it, and maybe I can tag a few more Zs as well"

Krypton 29th of May, 2010 12:07

Padre shakes his head as restless Jake remains standing by the refrigerator. "Well then, it is good you have a Shepherd to watch over you, child."

He sits down, now, helping himself to some of the breakfast he prepared - eggs from the few chickens he maintains, bacon from your freezers, and some toasted bread, made from Winter Wheat cultivated in your Greenhouse.

"Please, Jeffrey, Jake. Let such things wait until that glorious time known as 'After Breakfast.' Delight, that for the moment, we have nothing to do. Let us simply enjoy each other's company now."

Silverbow 30th of May, 2010 02:09

Dr. Monica Lawrence sat at the table in dirty jeans and a large blue sweatshirt that hung off of her petite 5'3" frame. Before the Zombification, she hadn't cared much for eggs, but she scarfs them down without comment, something of a miracle for her. But it was early yet and years of medical school and as a doctor hadn't made her a morning person, though she had been accustomed to waking up long before zombies had made it a necessity. Her mouth full, she waves at her friends coming in for breakfast with her fork.

"Please, Jeffrey, Jake. Let such things wait until that glorious time known as 'After Breakfast.' Delight, that for the moment, we have nothing to do. Let us simply enjoy each other's company now."

Monica snorts. "Padre, it's New Year's Day. You don't 'enjoy each others' company' on New Year's Day. Traditionally, it's a day for avoiding looking outside and growling at anyone who comes near," she smiled. "Though granted we have less of a reason since we're not actually hungover, but seems just wrong to be nice to people on New Year's."

Jon Adler 30th of May, 2010 04:44

Jon Adler enters the room and sits down at the table. He shiftily eyes you all and sits down, at the first empty chair he finds. His lips curl down into a frown and he stares at his empty plate. The man's brow furrows. Reaching out across the table, Jon picks up a plate of bacon and holds it over his own dish, stabbing a few slices with his fork and transferring them to his plate without a word. He sets the bacon back down in the middle of the table.

Jon sits back in his chair. His chin comes up and he observes the people all around him, brown eyes narrowing and shifting back and forth. Let's see who's going to want to bother me with pointless conversation this morning, he thinks to himself. No one does and this satisfies him. Picking up his fork, he leans over his plate, stabs the bacon and begins shoveling it into his mouth. "Did anyone make eggs?" he asks, interrupting several other conversations.

Krypton 30th of May, 2010 06:13

Detective Jack Frost posed a moment as he stood at the foot of the stairs, as if allowing all of you to glance, for a moment, just how great he was while he consciously struck what he interpreted as a heroic pose fitting to the hero in his own Zombie Apocalypse movie, as created by George Romero.

Upon seeing his pose has little effect on the inured assemblage, he sulks a little as he sits down at the breakfast table, taking the plate and the last of the bacon as Jon passes it to him. He then takes a spoonful of scrambled eggs, and holds the pan out in Jon's direction, forgetting to offer the end of the handle in his now funky mood.

"What's this I hear you want to mess with my equipment, Jake? Trust me, it's fine, better than fine - excellent. But I will go with you, when you go out. You'll need me, if something goes wrong."

Padre stands up, wiping his hands on the cloth napkin he keeps folded up in his shirt pocket. His hands shake a little as he folds it up and returns it there. "Very well, since some of you insist on constant vigilance, even within the safety of our home, I shall leave you to dampen your own holiday. After a reading of the word of God."

His Bible, ever close at hand, sits on the counter near where he prepared the morning meal. He drops his plate in the sink, and picks it up before opening it to a pre-marked page in what appears to be the New Testament.

"Join hands, please. Humor me, at least a little longer." He waits for you to comply, and then continues. "From the Apostle Paul's Second letter to the Corinthians, in the fourth chapter... Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

"This is the word of God. Amen." He closes his eyes, praying on his own, silently. "Ayaka, dear. Please clean up, before you spend your day in the Greenhouse? I shall be in the library, if anyone needs me."

He walks out of the kitchen, the Bible folded closed with loving care and tucked underneath his arm. He walks down the hall, and you can hear the door of the library swing closed beneath him. Even public rooms in your home have lockable doors - in case. It is not uncommon for Padre to sit in the library in the mornings, writing in his journal, or reading from his Bible or one of the other precious books you've saved as a group.

AoM 30th of May, 2010 17:01

Ayaka gave the priest a dull glare before resuming her breakfast. The man was deluded, still praying to a god who had obviously abandoned him - if there even was a god to begin with. She scooped a large spoonful of the wet eggs into her mouth, and then covered her face again with the scarf while chewing.

Robert had believed as Poul did. She'd married into a family of believers. She'd found it odd, at first, but spirituality was not exactly a foreign concept to her. She'd respected such belief, had found beauty in it. Now she just felt sorry for the betrayal those faithful must have felt as their loved ones became monstrous abominations. And those like the padre who still hung on to such faith, well, the notion grated on her like nails across a chalkboard.

She never voiced such opinions to the priest though. It wasn't her place to tell him how to live his life. It wasn't her concern. She wished though that he would learn to do the same with her. But being a preacher, she had inevitably concluded that an end to such practice was impossible.

What bothered her most though, was his attitude about this place, and about these people who lived here. The man considered this home, and he acted as though she were a part of his family. But this wasn't Ayaka's home. And this group of strangers was most certainly not her family.

Her family was Robert. And he was dead. No one would ever take that place he had occupied in her heart. The priest's assumptions galled her as much as did his empty bible passages.

But it was not her place to tell him this. It was not her place to cause trouble. She would return to her Greenhouse - her own pocket of space. The last place she could call her own. She would tend her garden, and try not to think about the decaying world around her.

Ergonomic Cat 30th of May, 2010 23:53

Once the priest says his piece, Jake puts his plate in the sink, dry scrubbing it to clean it as best he can. He nods to Jack and Jeff. "Okay, let's get out there. The undead would just choose today to do something exciting. Who knows - maybe they're tracking the new year too, and they celebrate with brains and liver over snow."

He picks up Kate, and checks his pocket to be sure the .45 is in there as well. He pulls on his sweater, and then puts his leather jacket over the top. "I swear, if we can find some damn long underwear, I'll trade one of you to the undead for it." He blinks. "That was a joke. I wouldn't.... Anyway. Jack, I've been thinking. We're gonna run out of gas sooner or later. I think we've hit most of the gas stations left in town already. I was thinking we might be able to get an old bike - the pedal kind - and hook it up to a generator somehow - make some sort of manually powered electric thing. I was reading one of the textbooks, and they talk about how to make one that's hand cranked. It's gotta be the same damn idea, right?" He walks as he talks, and reaches the front door. He slides the chest of drawers aside, and looks out the peephole for at least 3 minutes. "Looks clear out there." He draws his gun, and puts his hand on the knob, waiting to see who else is joining him, and let them get ready to breach their fortress' "perimeter" and let the outside world have another chance at them.

Silverbow 4th of June, 2010 05:01

"That? A joke? Well, I'm glad my place as the funny one is still intact," Monica said dryly.

She stood up and dropped her dishes in the sink. "You guys have fun with the whole killing zombies. I'm going to go back to my lab and see about making it so we don't turn into one. That reminds me, you guys are cool with me experimenting on you if you get bit, right?" she asked with a grin.

Jon Adler 4th of June, 2010 13:33

Jon Adler follows the others out to kill zombies.

Krypton 5th of June, 2010 06:37

Jeff collects his gear while the rest of you look out the stronghold's various portals to look out which exist on your eastern wall - Mother nature herself has largely taken care of protecting the other three sides, with sheer cliff walls your engineers have built their walls right up against.

He pauses to polish his prized Steyer as he waits for everyone else to finish their preparations.

Jack turns to Jake (OOC: J, J, J... hmmmm), "Ready to breach?"

Jeff laughs at Jack's demeanor. "Breach? What is this, a fucking submarine? Let's just go already." He walks up and opens the door, stepping outside, assault rifle slung over his shoulder, but his USP in his hand.

All is quiet as you inspect the veritable fleet of automobiles you've assembled. Jeff opens up the back of his truck, inspecting the things he keeps strapped down there.

Jack stands straight, a silently strong figure, his eyes scanning the clear-cut area around the edge of the car-corral you've assembled.

Then, the stillness of the January morning is broken with the unmistakable sound of a car horn splitting the air. Another one follows soon, and they continue blaring in a steady rhythm.

Jack is off in a flash, sprinting out of the yard with a reckless regard for his own safety that is familiarly frustrating.

Yelling at the idiot to stop, Jeff goes after him, gun pumping in his hand.

Ergonomic Cat 5th of June, 2010 08:51

Jake curses loudly, and turns back to the door. "Jack and Jeff are chasing after something. Car horns. Get ready for an attack, get everyone to a safe place."

He reaches inside the door to grab his shotgun, and follows cautiously after Jack and Jeff, scanning the horizon, and keeping a wide berth around the cars, in case someone or thing is hiding beneath them. "Jack, Jeff, idiots. SLOW THE HELL DOWN. I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO BLOW YOUR GODDAMNED HEADS OFF!" He then mutters more quietly to himself "I get your stuff when you die. Idiots."

Jon Adler 7th of June, 2010 08:43

The three men run up to a ditch at the side of the road. Squatting down, they lay prone, scanning the highway, weapons at the ready.

Jon creeps up behind them, crouching low. He unslings his survival kit from his back, sets it down on the ground and squats in front of it. Unzipping the top, Jon pulls open the flap and reaches inside. He feels around briefly for what he wants.

Pulling grenades from his survival kit, Jon tosses one to Jeff and one to Jake. "Use them only when the bastards start going all Helm's Deep on you," he says, looking up, his eyes narrowing on the other two. "Supplies are limited and if you pair Schultzes waste my gear on a chipmunk, I'll...." He trails off, thinking about it. He can hear the sound of something approaching, the soft whoosh of a car.

Krypton 7th of June, 2010 12:43

Identifying the sounds as a car is accurate, but as it squeals and grinds closer, even the untrained eye can notice a few things - the front wheels are stripped bare, cutting up the road as the rear-wheel drive minivan is pushed up the hill.

But it is the creatures around the vehicle which terrify most of you, and set one of you's blood boiling - the walking dead. Zed, Zombies, the Flood - whatever you call them in your mind, they have one goal in theirs.

Currently, that seems to be entering the Van and getting at its lone occupant and driver, a gorgeous blonde woman, hysterical as she lays on the horn again. Mascara runs in streaks down her face, and she apparently can't see well as the van runs off the other side of the road, front fender smashing against the bluffside.

On the top of the Van, clinging as if it were clinging to dear life, is one of the frightening Cured - one of the original Zombies, this one is of the type the good doctor refers to as a Sarcoman, after the type of Cancer it suffered in life. It's face is split in a terrible grin, its teeth long, pointed, and disgusting, so long the creature no longer can hide them. From the end of its fingers and toes, bone growths have broken the skin and become claws, which the creature has used to cling to the Van as it skewed wildly off the road. It answers the crashing of the van with a gurgling hiss as it slides forward off the van and finds itself leaning up against the front of the van. So far, you haven't found Sarcomans have a spot any more vulnerable than another, though they also are far from invulnerable. Unlike some of the other Flood, they've so far been deterable by just blasting away.

The airbags deployed, saving the woman inside, but she is not in good shape. Being on the road that climbs up the Bluff from the East, she is most likely from one of the smaller settlements in that direction.

Shambling up the road, now, are a dozen of the Infected, those poor souls who died at the hands of one of the Cured, who the Romero fans among you will easily recognize as more 'traditional' zombies - though they've seemed, so far, to enjoy the rest of their victims as much as the brains.

OOC: Hoo-ah! Zombies arrive on the scene!

Initiative rolls were rolled by me, like all rolls will be.

And so, the order is Jake, Jon, Jeff, Zombies, Jack, Van Hottie

Ergonomic Cat 8th of June, 2010 02:24

Jake sighs. "Well. That's a damn shame. We need to get to get the hell back to our base and get ready for an assault." He looks around for anything that might slow the creatures down (Mprovised Traps) and makes sure there is a slug in the shotgun.

Krypton 11th of June, 2010 21:42

Looking around, you notice, frustratingly, that the winter snow covers the ground, obscuring your view, but you recognize the area. A short way east, the ruins of a burnt-out bar might provide a little cover, but the shambling Flood are on the road in that direction.

OOC: I'm declaring that Jon has delayed his action, waiting to see what everyone else does, because it's the middle of a combat round and he's now had 4 days to act! That said, it's now Jeff's turn, and he told me via text message what he intends. When i get home from Work this afternoon I'll make the Jeff/Zombies/Jack post. Jon, you have until then to override the declared Delay!

Krypton 13th of June, 2010 23:50

Jeff lifted his Steyer to his shoulder and fired a single shot at the Sarcoman's torso, knowing full-well that the creatures felt pain the way the living did, even if they weren't affected by it. (OOC: Jeff rolls a total of [roll0] )

Krypton 13th of June, 2010 23:58

The Sarcoman flings itself to the side as Jeff lifts his gun, knowing, or remembering, full-well the terror of firearms. (His roll is [roll0]) No telltale howl of pain is heard from the creature's throat.

Krypton 14th of June, 2010 00:15

The shambling dozen stay grouped as they continue their inexhaustible march on the way to you, the proximity of their preferred method of food pulling them towards you, their corpses' stench is limited by their partially frozen bodies, but their moan is still terrifying, "BRRRRRaaaaaaaainssssss...."

The Sarcoman leaps from the top of the van, intent on retaliating against the man who dared to attack it. The fangs which grew in its death as the cancer ravaged his, or her body were several inches long, keeping the creature from closing its mouth fully. His bones, likewise, had continued growing, and he had long bone claws extending from his hands and feet. The claws reached out for Jeff's face (roll of [roll0], and the young man flinched back, attempting to duck out of the way. (Roll of [roll1])

Krypton 14th of June, 2010 00:17

Jeff receives a wicked cut on his face from the creature's claws, taking [roll0] x4 damage, for a total of 4 damage.

Krypton 14th of June, 2010 00:23

Jack Frost, true to his heroic nature, dashes forward to the van the fearsome Sarcoman has so recently left. He comes around to the driver side, pistol in his right hand as he opens the door with his left with a groan against the damaged frame of the minivan. Sparing a glance for the horde of zombies, he turns back and thinks of the first words he can as he looks into Van Hottie's terrified blue eyes, "Come with me if you want to live!"

Jon Adler 16th of June, 2010 14:22

Jon pops out of the ditch at the side of the road, thrusting both arms out, fingers laced around the grip of a nine milimitere pistol. His index finger curls around the trigger.

His eyes narrow.

He squeezes CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! His barrel flashes every time. His arms jerk with the recoil as he empties half a clip. aiming at the nearest zombie.

AoM 16th of June, 2010 15:22

Ayaka had been humming to herself as she watered a clump of aloe plants in the greenhouse when the crack-crack-crack of gunfire resounded in the distance. With measured patience, she finished watering the plant she was currently tending to and, once finished with her task, set the watering can down next to the following plant so as to mark her place before proceeding out of the mass of varied leaves and flowers to her workbench.

It was covered with soil and the varied tools of her trade. She opened the top left drawer and took out her 8mm pistol, an item acquired in the frantic siege that had set her running towards this stronghold nearly a year ago. She possessed little expertise with the weapon, but knew that having it on her could spell the difference between life and undeath.

She checked the clip and the safety before pocketing it and heading for the downstairs door. Doubtless Poul and Monica had heard the shots as well, the three of them would need to be ready when the men came back. Monica often depended on the priest and Ayaka to be ready and willing nurses when it came to the wounded. It wasn't something that Ayaka had a problem with.

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