After the battle, the heroes took their captives inside and started questioning them. Though the angry women wanted to kill the prisoners right away, Rasheed was able to talk them down—aided by the fact that several people had seen him perform a genuine miracle. Unfortunately, a new problem was emerging: at least some of the women thought that Rasheed was the Second Coming, and even the ones who disagreed were sure he was a holy man of some sort. Brad commented that it would be really easy to get laid as a prophet of the lord, but Rasheed was less than interested in exploiting desperate people.
One of the captured Horsemen was happy to spill his guts rather than have them spilled for him. He was able to tell them that the Horsemen were fairly organized for a biker gang, that there were a couple hundred of them holding onto an oil refinery just north of Philadelphia, and that zombies weren’t a problem near Horsemen camps. He claimed to have never met the gang’s true leader, a foreign man the others called “the Red King.” Governor Byrne and Rasheed both suspected this meant supernatural intervention of some kind.
They had been trying to recruit people for their gang peacefully when possible, but they were under specific orders: anyone who won’t join up willingly gets brought in anyway. After kidnapping people from their communities, the captives were sent on to “camps” deeper toward Philly, but the captive Horseman had no idea what happened to them after that. Rosalie posited cannibalism, which the captive denied; they ate all their food out of scavenged cans and packages, so there really was no way for it to be people.
Now that the heroes had information about their enemies, they had to decide what to do with their captives. Crystal recommended stringing them up as a warning, but the heroes pleaded for mercy. In the end, the four surviving captives were given two motorcycles, a can of gas, a gun, and four bullets, then sent on their way.
The release of the captives put a premium on opening up the prison’s armory, so the heroes got to work taking apart the security systems the next morning. Rosalie’s brilliant skills as a lockpicker and safecracker got the vault open in only a couple of hours, giving the prisoners access to dozens of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Governor Byrne took the opportunity to dress himself in a full suit of riot armor, while Brad helped himself to a semi-automatic shotgun. Doris and Rasheed both took bulletproof vests, since they figured they might be needing them in the near future.
With the weapons issue dealt with in the short term, they proceeded to the hospital wing to get the chemo unit they needed for Dr. Chadwick. Doris found herself unable to proceed into the area; the thought of a pressing horde was just too much for her to bear after some of her recent experiences. Rasheed proposed turning on the power to the building and using the security cameras and intercom system to let Doris act as their “eye in the sky” while the others swept the building. A grateful Doris happily agreed.
Rasheed used his new powers to lay down a line of goofer dust across the doorway to prevent any zombies from getting through once they went inside. He planned to seal off the other doorway in the entry room as well, limiting the number of zombies they would have to fight at one time. The plan went off without a hitch, partly thanks to Doris using the intercom system to distract zombies while Rasheed bottlenecked them.
With a proper kill corridor established, the group was able to put down all the zombies in the building with no major problems. The saddest part was mercy-killing the zombies who had been chained to their beds in the infirmary when they changed. There were also traces of zombies having gone into the basement, but the heroes decided that they didn’t need anything down there and let it alone. That would prove a problem in not too much longer…
The heroes looted what medicine they could find, as well as a portable chemo cart and the proper chemicals for it, and were lucky enough to find a working prison ambulance in the garage attached to the medical wing. As they were loading up the supplies into the ambulance, something started banging at the doors leading from the basement into the garage.
The doors burst open to reveal a horrific abomination, an agglomeration of two dozen or more bodies that had melted and run together like rotten wax. It was like an enormous centipede made of rotting corpses, and the smell and appearance of it were almost overwhelming. Even from the control room, Doris was taken aback by terror, and she collapsed to the ground as she felt the wendigo change overtaking her once more.
In the garage, Governor Byrne rushed up to the abomination, trying to keep it occupied, only to find it turning on him and crushing several of his ribs in a mighty blow. From there it became a pitched battle, with the heroes pumping round after round of ammunition into the beast’s seemingly impervious body. Doris managed to stave off the transformation through sheer willpower, racing to join her friends despite her fear, and opening up on the monster with her assault rifle.
The thing proved just as difficult to harm with autofire, however, though its pain and anger were apparent. It had an ability similar to the thing from the steam tunnels, disgorging burning bile—though this fluid also made things burst into flame when it struck them! Governor Byrne was set on fire in such a spray, but remembered his childhood lessons of “stop, drop, and roll,” so he was only a little scorched.
Brad lamented not bringing along a block of C4, and finally decided that discretion was the better part of valor. He hopped in the ambulance and started it up, drawing the creature’s attention. It attacked the ambulance, shattering its windows and crumpling one of the doors. Brad panicked and floored it, blowing through the garage doors into the outside, but wrecked the ambulance in the process.
The others had been considering retreating as well, leaving Rasheed’s magic to contain the creature while they fell back for reinforcements, but an open passage to the outside was too much of a risk for Governor Byrne to permit. Gunfire was concentrated on the thing’s “head,” finally opening up a hole big enough to see some sort of cancerous growth, like a fetid heart. Doris charged in and stabbed it through with her machete, while Governor Byrne simply reached inside the beast and seized it with both hands. The two of them hacked and pulled until the heart came free, finally slaying the abomination, whose built-up bile then burst its corpse apart in a fiery rain of acid and rotten flesh.
Though they had won the day, all of them were hurt, tired, and more than a little disturbed. If such abominations were a possible mutation of the zombie horde, who knew what they could expect in the future? Still, it might have been a costly victory, but it was a victory nonetheless, and they intended to celebrate it as such.