Dead Reign

Day 4
Sweet sanctuary

The survivors realize that food and water will soon be an issue, but the most pressing one is shelter. Out on the road, they’re sitting ducks for a horde to catch up to them, even past the worst parts of New York. They decide to head up the road a ways to an old rest stop, hoping to temporarily fortify it against danger. The few zombies they find there are easily dispatched, and the survivors spend a cold, fearful night there.

The next day, the group starts trying to decide their route to safety. When Rosalie mentions that her sister is in Pennsylvania, Doris insists that the group travel that way to at least confirm whether she’s alive or dead. Some of the other grumble, and Brad quips that Rosalie should just let it go—her sister is definitely dead.

While on the road, the survivors notice a sign that says “Survivors welcome!” pasted up on a freeway exit. Despite some misgivings, they decide to check it out. On the outskirts of a town called Bethlehem, they run into a young man and his sister, Elijah and Mary Mathis, who are dressed almost like Mormon missionaries. The two young people explain that their father, a Baptist preacher, has built a sanctuary for people on the run from the zombie hordes, a place where all are welcome. Though the survivors look forward to the chance at a warm bed and real food, everyone is suspicious about having to leave their weapons behind.

Once at the compound, a walled area that used to be a tourist-oriented historical Quakertown, Courtney and the Chadwick brothers choose to stay with the vehicles while everyone else disarms and makes their way inside. One of the guards is rude to Rasheed for “looking like a Muslim,” but Elijah insists that “Father” wouldn’t want anyone excluded. Inside, the group meets the friendly, bearded Father Zachariah Mathis and his wife Ruth. They also get to see the community they’re building, a place protected by walls and populated by easily as many people as the ragtag band of New York survivors.

Everyone is given a chance to clean up and get ready for dinner, and Father Zachariah offers to let them stay a few days to catch their bearings—or longer, if they want to join the community. Dinner is pleasant, but everyone finds themselves becoming sleepy afterwards, and Doris and Rosalie go back out to the trucks to take food to those who stayed outside. Doris can’t keep her eyes open any longer and just goes to sleep in the truck, with Rosalie refusing to walk back alone. Governor Byrne, Rasheed, and Brad are given rooms in a bunkhouse with some of the other survivors.

In the middle of the night, Brad is accosted by men with guns who seem intent on doing something with him, but he makes a run for it. Rasheed, not asleep at all, sees this and makes his way out into the night as well. When people try to get Doris to open up the truck—which is unsuccessful, since Doris is passed right out—Rosalie is suspicious and sneaks back to the compound. The three of them meet and witness Elijah leading a hunting party looking for Brad and Rasheed. Most disturbing is that they seem to be leading a pair of zombies on chains, using them like hunting dogs.

Fearing for their lives—and those of their friends—the three survivors run and hide.

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Doris Journal #1

Got bit a while ago. Right on the damn arm. My own foolish fault for jumping into a pile of zombie and not backing away. But how could I? Gov’ Brynes was out there all on his own and you don’t turn your back on your convoy.

Ah course I told them right away. At least my immediate crew. Suggested they should just leave me somewhere alone and let me see how it turns out, but they’re a good bunch and didn’t set me out like roadside litter. We let a few other folks in on what happened, mostly the medical crew. They checked me over and they don’t think any saliva got into the wound. It didn’t look like the skin tore, but there were some mighty nasty blood blisters.

Arm still don’t work right. It’s all purple and yellow from the bruising. And sometimes, it throbs. I feel feverish at times, but no like nothing I heard about those who turned. If I think I’m going, I’ll eat a bullet first before I hurt any of my friends. Or even Brad.

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Day 3
Run like hell

The survivors make their way to the docks to grab a trailer for Doris’ semi. While the others get the trailer hitched up and scavenge for useful goods, Doris gets shot at by a maniac hiding in a warehouse. Rosalie and Rasheed find a smuggler’s stash of explosives and take a few bricks of C4 with them—just in case.

They rush back to the Pine Building, where evacuation procedures are well underway. The elderly Chadwick brothers mention their intentions to stay behind to Rosalie. Patrick is too sick to travel without significant attention, and Aaron won’t leave his little brother behind. Governor Byrne convinces them to come along, against the advice of Judge Bell and Dr. Hart, both of whom argue that the Chadwicks would be a major drain on the enclave’s resources.

The survivors load up into the vehicles and bid the Pine Building goodbye, making their way toward the ferry docks. The ferry itself has a few walkers on it, but quick work is made of them. The vehicles make their way carefully onto the ferry, and Brad is able to safely pilot it out of the dock. Once they are away from shore, they see that the zombies don’t seem to care for water, refusing to go into it unless knocked in by accident.

After some discussion, the group decides to make for as far south as the ferry’s fuel will take them, all the way past Staten Island to New Jersey. Coming ashore, they find the road out of the ferry station blocked by security bars, as well as a crowd of “sleeping” zombies littering the area. Rosalie sneaks to the guard shack to disable the bars—only to find something horrific waiting for her.

The guard shack explodes as an enormous mutated zombie bursts its way free. The creature is easily eight feet tall and half a ton, bulging with grotesquely expanded and ruptured muscles. The other zombies pick themselves up and lunge to the attack. The others distract the heavy zombie while Rosalie struggles to find and use the gate controls. In the midst of the battle, Governor Byrne suffers a cracked rib—and Doris is bitten!

Though the zombies are finally defeated and Rosalie opens the gates, the others fear it might be too late for Doris. An hour or so down the road, Doris finally calls for a stop to explain her situation to the others. She offers to let them keep the truck and leave her behind, but they won’t hear of it. After all, they’ve all heard the rumors of people being immune, and Dr. Hart can’t even confirm that the zombie broke through the skin when it bit Doris. They agree that Doris is to stay with the group—no matter what.

Chilled and weary, the survivors are nonetheless free. The only question now is where to go next.

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Day 2
Plans for the future

The survivors begin laying plans to raid a nearby convenience store for food. Governor Byrne volunteers to draw off the zombies while the others make their way to the store and bring back as much food as they can carry. Rasheed is nearly eaten by a zombie in a roadblock traffic jam, but they manage to make it to the store, where they find a working truck crashed into the front of the store. They load the truck as full as they can manage and drive it back to the Pine Building, sending up a flare to let Governor Byrne know they succeeded.

When they get back, they find the front of the building far more swarmed than when they left it. A harrowing fight ensues, at the end of which the food truck and Doris’ semi are safely in the building’s basement-level garage. Judge Bell makes his move, pushing Brad to convince the others to stay in the Pine Building through the winter and let the government sort it all out. Brad is unconvinced and reports the judge’s offer to his companions.

Rasheed starts investigating the sewers as a possible escape route, only to find that they’re completely flooded. Rosalie tells him that Manhattan has a series of pumps to keep the sewers and subways from flooding—but they’ve all been off for over a week now. By the spring, most of Manhattan will be flooded, which is just one more reason to get out while they still can.

Doris manages to get her CB radio working and picks up a signal from other survivors only a dozen blocks away. They make arrangements to pick up the other survivors and bring them back to the Pine Building, and along the way pick up a trailer for Doris’ truck so that they can make good their escape from New York in the near future. Everything is looking up until it goes dramatically wrong.

The next morning, a panicked call comes over the radio: someone in the other survivors’ enclave turned in the night, and now most of them are dead. The survivor with the radio has locked himself in a closet, but he doesn’t know how long he can last. Doris and Governor Byrne immediately jump into action to go rescue the remaining survivors, but Judge Bell tries to stop them. When Doris ignores him, he tries to restrain her, only for Rosalie to hit him with her taser. It doesn’t put him down, and after he calls her a bad name and balls up his fist, Governor Byrne clocks him cold. He and Rasheed announce that everyone needs to get ready to leave—because when they get back, they’re abandoning the Pine Building. Courtney, a survivor with military experience, volunteers to come with them.

The heroes burn rubber through Manhattan in Doris’ semi, coming to the rec center where the other survivors have holed up. Zombies are crowded around the doors, so Doris decides to ram them and through the front of the building. While most of the heroes are recovering from the impact, Governor Byrne and Rasheed jump out to start getting zombies away from the room where the lone survivor is hiding. Rosalie climbs to the top of the semi and taunts zombies into ignoring her friends, while Doris starts picking off zombies with her pistol and machete. Brad tries to lure zombies away, but winds up mobbed by a swarm of zombie children.

The heroes manage to clear enough zombies away from the door to get the lone survivor to come out, and two others emerge from their hiding places as well. With the few survivors rescued, they all pile into Doris’ semi and get the hell out of Dodge.

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Day 1
Life (and death) in the Pine Building

The survivors realized that their food was running low, so five of them got together to make plans. Governor Byrne took the lead on suggestions, while Doris, Rasheed, Brad and Rosalie were pleased to offer their own takes on matters. In the end, the crew decided to go down to the first floor to retrieve a copy of the building directory so they could figure out if there was anything on the higher floors worth looting. A couple of zombies remained in the lobby, but they were easily dispatched by Governor Byrne’s wrestling skills, and Rosalie wound up with a taser of her very own.

The survivor crew took the stairs up to the higher floors and methodically picked through anything of value. They found some medicine in a dentist’s office, but no food. The twelfth floor was barricaded, so they went to the roof to look for another access. Rosalie’s silent scouting proved invaluable, revealing almost a dozen zombies—and a man in a conference room with a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

The crew opened up the elevator shaft, hoping to use the zombies’ natural stupidity to lure them all to their doom. It was working well enough until one of them showed aberrant behavior: it was able to think well enough to not jump to its doom, but instead to jump across the shaft to try and kill the governor. A well-thrown pipe from Brad and some help from Rosalie saved Byrne’s life and sent the “smart” zombie tumbling to its doom with its kin.

They managed to find enough food in the office’s private catering kitchen to keep the enclave going for a few days, as well as a private elevator that still had power. Taking it to the basement revealed a working generator and some gas, as well as an underground parking garage empty of cars. The crew started making plans to get Doris’ truck and Brad’s humvee inside to repair them and gas them up. In the meantime, they started discussing plans for what to do in the long term, and where to go once the cars were ready.

Survivor Society: Judge Bell made something of a nuisance of himself, and Brad earned the enmity of several survivors with his rude commentary. Governor Byrne is earning the trust of the people, and Rosalie is trying to learn some basic chemistry from the Chadwick brothers. Doris hasn’t made much of an impression on anyone. Everyone is starting to like Rasheed, viewing him as Governor Byrne’s right-hand man.

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Day Z(ero)
Prologue and Prelude

The outbreak began a little more than three weeks ago.

At first it looked like an early and virulent strain of the flu. By the time anyone realized how much of a pandemic it was, something like 40% of the country was laid up with fever, sniffles, and aching muscles. It came on hard and fast—and then people started dying in droves. By the end of the first week, the hospitals were full of the dead and dying. When the dead started getting back up and attacking the living, the hospitals turned into charnel houses.

By the end of week two, millions of people had been killed or died from the plague. Even the recently dead from other causes started rising up and feasting on human flesh. The government collapsed, the army was in pieces, and pretty soon we stopped getting news from other countries too. We don’t know if it’s just as bad overseas, but it’s probably not any better.

A week ago, a few survivors who had been too late escaping New York City when everything went to hell holed up in an office building in Lower Manhattan. The Pine Building had an on-site cafeteria for employees and a nurse’s office, so there was a little food and medicine at first. Now, after a week holed up together, supplies are running low and morale is even lower.

Someone has to step up and find food, or the survivors will just be more zombies before too long. Can you do it?

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