Listen In To New Canton's Transmission
Runner 8 tells Sam she's going to turn off her mic for a few minutes. With the privacy this affords the two of you, she fills you in on Project Greenshoot. There are at least five private armies forming in the aftermath of the outbreak, including the official military, for whom Runner 8 works. Project Greenshoot concerns some high-value asset hidden at Abel, about which Runner 8 knows very little.
Runner 8 discuss Rofflenet, and speculates that Finland, a Rofflenet black-zone, may well be using something faster. Sam interrupts your discussion to warn you of some running zoms. As you and Runner 8 prepare to escape, you hear someone shooting.
24 Hours' NoticeEdit
The shooting has stopped and you've escaped the zoms. You begin to hear Nadia from New Canton: the running zoms have taken down their cameras in your area. Nadia receives a report of you and Runner 8, claiming that you're the ones shooting. Runner 8 asks Sam who's shooting and proposes a peace treaty with New Canton. Nadia, however, calls her Runners back to prepare for a raid on Abel in the next 24 hours.
Sam tells you to return to base to prepare for New Canton's raid. As he talks, you overhear Nadia. She's excited to see the signal from Lem's headset on her scanners: she believes it's evidence that he's still alive.
SAM YAO: Raise the gates! [gate siren, gates raising] Runner Five, ready? Gates are open, covering fire, and… [gunshots] Go! Runner Five, obviously things are… [laughs] Things are pretty scary right now. I mean, well, the Major says “fear is the greatest enemy”, but I’m sort of thinking that New Canton is kicking fear’s ass on that front.
So, we need you to go out again. Find out what you can using their headset. Go as near as you need to pick up their signal, but not so close that they’ll spot you! [laughs] Easy, eh? Oh, and I’m sending a friend with you. For protection. You might need it.
SARA SMITH: Hey there, Five! You doing okay? I know lots of folk round the base are getting nervous, but we’re going to be just fine. You and me, gorgeous day like today, a little run. It’ll be fun!
SAM YAO: Yeah! You guys are a real Charlie’s Angels combo… or wait, is that sexist, Runner Eight? You could be, um, Mulder and Scully. I’m not saying who’s who! Or like, uh, the A Team! You pick.
SARA SMITH: We’re just a couple of runners, Sam.
SAM YAO: Gotcha, a couple of runners. You can be The Flash, and uh, The Other Flash. [snorts] Be safe out there today, guys. We don’t know what they’re planning and plus, you know, zombies!
SARA SMITH: Can’t forget about those!
SARA SMITH: [coughs] Hey, Sam!
SAM YAO: Hey?
SARA SMITH: Little tickly throat right here. Going to turn off my mic for a few minutes, okay?
SAM YAO: Um… yeah, sure. Just um, well, you know. Make sure not to turn off your receiver. Since Barry Outpost fell to the east, there have been some gnarly zoms turning up. A few of those guys were wearing helmets. Makes for a pretty tough kill when they’ve turned.
SARA SMITH: [coughs] No problem, Sam. Just want to save you listening to me coughing away. You’ll give us a heads up when we’re in mortal danger?
SAM YAO: Sure will.
SARA SMITH: [mic clicks off] Okay, Five, we haven’t got much time to talk, and runs are the only safe time for me to brief you. Never can tell who’s listening on the base. So listen up: Project Greenshoot, here it comes. What I know, anyway, which I’m sure isn’t the half of it.
Do you know what’s going on in the outside world, Five? No, sure you don’t. You know what everyone knows. How to find food, how to stay alive, seven different ways to take a zom’s head off. I like a meat cleaver on a broom handle, myself, but you’ve got to keep it sharp! Anyway, none of us have had time to think about the bigger picture. But let me tell you something - someone’s been thinking about it.
There are at least five separate organizations running private armies in this part of the world, did you know that? There’s the official military, sure. Provisional government, state of emergency, dropping food and med packs where they can, not doing a bad job. I’m on their side - the side of law and order, freedom, and one day, democracy again. All that good stuff. But they’re overstretched as it is, and they can’t hold the whole country.
Zoms heading in from the left. Just speed up, hon!
And then there are the other guys. We only know about some of them. There’s some outfit in bright yellow uniforms running around in the southwest. They look like a splinter military group, but we can’t be sure. Then there’s a bunch of survivalist nutjobs calling themselves The Power. They hooked up with a couple of arms manufacturers in the far west. They’re holed up in the mountains with enough firepower to take out anyone who tries to interfere. Now, the Scottish islands have been declared zom-free by Comansys, that big tech company with fingers in everything? Those guys made a hell of a lot of money before the Big Gray Bang, but no one unafiliated can get in.
I know it’s a lot to take in. You don’t need to remember all of it. Just this: there’s more than one side to this war, and it’s not just humans versus the dead. It’s also humans versus humans. And Project Greenshoot? All I can tell you for now is that the military think there’s something really important in Abel Township. They wanted you in there, gaining peoples’ trust. Except now, well, it looks like more than one group is interested in whatever’s there.
That pack’s getting closer… best pick up the pace!
SARA SMITH: Okay, I think we lost them for now. Thing is, Five, how do we even find out what’s happening in the world? Rofflenet, right? Set up by some genius McMillan in some place far away. No one knows where that guy is. But not everyone’s on there, not by a long shot. Did you know Finland’s a total Rofflenet black zone? Either all those guys are dead, or they’re using something much more sophisticated. We’re operating on rumors, here -
SAM YAO: Runner Eight? Runner Eight, switch your transmitter back on. We’ve got incoming. They’re heading in fast!
SARA SMITH: Those fast movers? The ones we saw before?
SAM YAO: Yeah, the same. The pack that infested the hospital.
SARA SMITH: Gotcha, Sam! We’re speeding up. You’ve met these zoms before, Five. Your very first run? We don’t know why they run. Most zoms can’t do much more than stumble. But then sometimes, one pack will start to run, like this. Only ever in a pack, not individually -
SAM YAO: They’re close behind you, coming round from the right.
SARA SMITH: Are they…? I know this sounds crazy, Sam, but -
SAM YAO: - a fast pack coming in from the left, come on! Faster than that!
SARA SMITH: - are they in formation?
SAM YAO: Someone’s shooting… someone’s shooting!
SARA SMITH: Run!
SAM YAO: Okay, okay, they’re fast, but they’re still dumb. You’re screened from them by trees now, so they can’t see where you’re heading. And whoever’s shooting has stopped. Could it be New Canton? Hmm… you’re heading into their territory, so you might be able to tune into their frequency, and -
NADIA AL HANAKI: Runner Forty-six, who’s shooting? Can you see who’s shooting? We can’t get a fix on the location. That swarm of fast zombies has taken down our cameras in Sector G. I told you, I can’t see! If you can help, help. If not, get out of my comms station! Runner Forty-six, say again. Did you say you’ve seen runners from Abel Township? Yes, it’s Abel Township. We think they’re shooting. No, not at the zoms, at us!
SARA SMITH: Did you get all that, Sam? New Canton think we’re shooting at them, we think they’re shooting at us. Who’s out there, Sam?
SAM YAO: I can’t…! [sighs] That swarm’s taken out a camera in that sector, we can’t see anything!
SARA SMITH: Can you contact New Canton to tell them it’s not us? We need to work together and figure this out!
NADIA AL HANAKI: Yes, sounds like the perfect time for it. Runner Forty-six, Runner Fifty-one, Runner Twenty-two - back to base. We’re preparing for the raid now. We’ll be heading out in the next twenty-four.
SAM YAO: So… yeah. Runner Five, Runner Eight, head on back to base. With what we’ve found out, I’ve kicked it upstairs, and I… well, there’s nothing left for us to do, now, huh? They’re attacking, and we need you back here to man your stations. Not like there’s much a runner can do if we’re under attack…
NADIA AL HANAKI: Wait, I’ve got something! We’re picking up a signal from a runner’s headset! Is that… oh my God! Are you seeing what I’m seeing? It’s Runner Thirty-eight, it’s Lem! No, look at him, he’s not stumbling, he’s not moving after the pack! It’s Lem! It’s Lem… he’s alive!
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