After a lengthy debate, the heroes finally decided to make for one of the abandoned military bases in southern Pennsylvania, hoping to find weapons and support vehicles that would give them an advantage against the horde outside Allentown. A short battle against the zombies swarming near the vehicles almost turned dangerous when one of the walkers turned out to be a runner, faster and smarter than his brethren. Fortunately, quick thinking and quicker gunplay saved the day.
The road was dangerous as well, with a half-dozen Horsemen motorcycle springing from ambush a couple of hours outside of Allentown. Between Doris’ driving and Conrad’s machine gun, the Horsemen were driven off the road, and the heroes managed to escape before they could rally their vehicles.
Unfortunately, after several hours of driving, the military base outside Harrisburg—indeed, the whole city of Harrisburg—was found to be under the control of the Horsemen. The heroes were upset to have come so far for nothing, They stuck around for a bit to spy on the Horsemen from their humvee, but a patrol noticed them and sent out a rider on a motorcycle to meet with them. While they debated the best course of action, Conrad decided to take matters into his own hands and gun down the rider before he could reach the humvee.
This created a massive protest from the other heroes, especially Doris and Governor Byrne, and forced the group to retreat before the now-riled Horsemen could mount a genuine offensive. Once they had satisfied themselves that they weren’t being followed, the group asked Conrad to step off while they discussed his future. While the former SEAL wasn’t asked to leave, the others did strongly caution him about the future use of lethal force; both sides agreed to attempt better communication in the future, and matters were settled.
Rather than turn back to Allentown, the group agreed to continue on to Mount Weather while the weather was still clear. The drive was several more hours, mostly on back roads and through ever-rockier terrain, until they finally came to the first security gate. Rosalie volunteered to infiltrate the area and open the gate from the other side; she ran into a single zombie on the way, but neatly decapitated it without a problem. The gatehouse turned out to still have power, which the heroes took as something of a good sign; the fact that it seemed abandoned kept them from hoping too much.
Several more gates and security checks later, they finally found evidence that someone was still alive inside the base. Conrad showed off his unit patch to the security cameras, and the gates started opening on their own from then on. After several miles of driving, the group found themselves outside the main gates of the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center. As they waited, they saw a military cart driving up with a single person aboard—a figure in a hazmat suit.
The figure wouldn’t approach too close to the gate, out of a stated concern about the heroes having the plague, but was at least curious about their intentions. The hazmat-suited individual introduced herself as Corporal Riley; she was a military clerk who drew the short straw on staying aboveground when the emergency bunker had been sealed a month or so back. The base’s communications systems had been down ever since the evacuation, and no one had managed to get them back online before the bunker was sealed, so she had been completely out of contact with both the outside world and the underground survivors for weeks.
The group had to explain to her the extent of the damage that had been done to the world, as well as the existence of zombies, which Corporal Riley took better than expected. She invited them in and took off the hazmat suit, after deciding that wearing it was probably pointless. She was able to tell them that Mount Weather still had power—and probably would for another 30 to 50 years because of the experimental geothermal tap—and that the base personnel had left her enough food to survive for five to ten years on her own. There were also vehicles—but only personnel and medical transports, nothing armed or heavily armored.
The heroes started formulating a plan to use the med-evac helicopters to transport all of the Allentown survivors to Mount Weather, but they realized that first they had to determine the survival of the people in the bunker below. Corporal Riley didn’t have any way to open the bunker or to communicate, so they decided to check out the communication systems first.
In the main comms center, they found a music CD playing on loop; taking it out of the player, they discovered that it also contained a video message from one of the base doctors. He warned that proper quarantine protocols hadn’t been taken for the high-profile government personnel that were being taken into the bunker, and he worried that the plague might well follow them in. He had included instructions for how to open a secondary entrance to the bunker, in the hopes that any survivors who found his message would be able to salvage his research even if something happened to everyone inside.
Now certain that the only thing that waited for them below was death, the heroes made preparations to open the bunker, infiltrate, and find the government’s research data on the zombie plague. If the world’s best minds had come up with any answers in the last month, it was a risk worth taking…