Scouting Out Near Abel
Sam calls Runners 4, 5 and 8 to get ready for a scouting mission. Runner 4 asks about where the Major has gone, and Sam replies that she's at a meeting of senior military personnel to create a long-term strategy. Runners 4 and 8 bicker about how much Runner 8 really knows.
No More EyesEdit
Runner 8 explains to Runner 4 that the mission for today is to visit areas which haven't been checked in a while. She then talks about how three runners can be more effective in distant areas, and mentions that there was a time when the population of Abel was considering moving to a new location. Sam and Runner 8 disagree about whether or not a move might still be a possibility.
Runner 8 checks in with Sam to fill him in on the situation. Runners 4 and 8 discuss their least favourite types of zombies, which prompts Sam and Janine to bicker about him eating during a mission. Runner 4 hears some "musical sounds", before Runner 8 picks up some gunshots to the north.
Runner 8 catches sight of a pile of corpses, around 40 zoms with a single shot to the centre of the forehead. Runner 4 notices that the site is strewn with loaded guns. Runner 8 and Janine recall a similar scene at Jamison Hester stadium. Janine asks the three of you to scout the area for clues.
Runner 4 returns from the top a nearby hill with a warning: there's a large mob of zombies approaching. It's time to grab what you can and leave, quickly.
Sam warns that you're still being pursued by zoms. Runner 4 is shocked to realise that it's the same horde as before, despite the fact that you should have outrun them by a good distance already. She is in some distress as she wonders how they could possibly have caught up to you.
Sam calls for the gates to be raised, and sends out Runners 13 and 14 with rifles to cover your return to Abel. Runner 8 confirms the presence of running zombies. Under covering fire, all Runners return safely to Abel.
SAM YAO: Runner Four, Runner Five, Runner Eight - ready?
SARA SMITH: We’re ready.
JODY MARSH: Ready!
SAM YAO: Did you like how I called you in number order, there? [laughs] Now, not that the numbers really mean anything, obviously. I mean, Five, you shouldn’t imagine that Runner Four is your boss, and Runner Eight is your junior or something like that.
JODY MARSH: Kinda the opposite, really.
SARA SMITH: Hey, now, we’re all just people. The Major’s in charge.
JODY MARSH: If she comes back.
SARA SMITH: When she comes back. Chin up, Four.
JODY MARSH: Do we even know where she’s gone?
SAM YAO: I heard it was a meeting of a bunch of ex-military personnel in the north. You know, to try and coordinate strategy across the whole country. Something more long-term than just “survive until tomorrow, rinse, repeat”. You’re pretty well-connected, Eight. Is that what you heard?
SARA SMITH: I don’t know any more than anyone else.
JODY MARSH: [whispers] She does, you know.
SAM YAO: What’s our mission today? That’s what I bet you’d all like to know!
SARA SMITH: We’re dying to find out.
SAM YAO: Today we have a scouting mission! [laughs] Runners, ready?
JODY AND SARA: Ready!
SAM YAO: Raise the gates! [gate siren, gates raising] Covering fire, and… [gunshots] Go.
JODY MARSH: So we’re going to, what - scout? What’s that?
SARA SMITH: Didn’t realize you hadn’t done one of these before, Jody. It’s not complex. Just checking up on areas we haven’t looked at for a while.
JODY MARSH: That’s why there’s three of us. Usually no more than two runners on a run.
SARA SMITH: Yes, I thought it’d be just Runner Five and me.
SAM YAO: But we’ve got extra weapons squirreled away, means we’ve been dealing with the zoms more efficiently, so we’ve got some extra runner capacity, and we thought you’d enjoy the company! Isn’t that right, Runner Eight? That’s what this is? Enjoyable?
SARA SMITH: The truth is, three team members is best practice for a scouting run. If one gets injured, one can stay with them to fight off zoms while the other one runs for help. We don’t know what we’ll find. No cameras where we’re heading. I used to do a lot of these with Kytan, that’s Runner Eleven? And Alice, the old Runner Five - remember that, Sam? When we were scouting out new locations for the township.
JODY MARSH: You were looking for new locations?
SAM YAO: Oh, yeah, that was just before you arrived, Four. Oh yeah, yeah, Janine had this crazy idea that there might be some problem with Abel… that we might have to move. I think she just wanted us out of her house, to be honest.
SARA SMITH: She’s a smart woman, Sam.
SAM YAO: Oh, yeah, no, definitely, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Incredibly smart, sharp, savvy, controls all our communications… never know when she might be listening in. Yeah, yeah, I think she thought we’d get a better signal over a wider area if we moved the township. So, well, we did a lot of scouting. Found somewhere that seemed almost perfect, but it was never quite the right time to leave.
JODY MARSH: And are we still… looking to leave?
[SAM YAO and SARA SMITH speaking simultaneously]
SAM YAO: Umm, not really? Seemed to get dropped -
SARA SMITH: I think it could be on the cards.
SAM YAO: … haven’t heard a lot about it since you arrived, Five. That rocket launcher business scared everyone. Okay, so, when you cross the next field, you’ll be out of range of my farthest northwest camera. We’ve done great work extending our cameras.
SARA SMITH: I heard about what happened to Runner Nine out there. Damned shame.
SAM YAO: Yeah… yeah, he did good work. But there are still a lot of sectors that aren’t covered. We’ll still have your tracker signals and mics, but no more eyes. When you get there, guys, say what you see.
SARA SMITH: Checking in, 1K from the last boundary marker. Things seem quiet. Passed a small clump of zombies by Nino’s Farm Supply Shop, mostly crawlers. We stopped briefly to put them down.
JODY MARSH: Oh, I hate goddamn crawlers. Hate ‘em. Like rats, or hands shooting out to grab your ankles from under the bed. [disgusted shudder]
SARA SMITH: I’m not so bothered about crawlers. Not as much as the ones with like, parts of their face missing. Especially eyes - anything sticking out of the eyes.
SAM YAO: [disgusted noise] [talking through a full mouth] Oh, enough, enough! Some of us are trying to eat here.
JANINE DE LUCA: Should you really be trying to - what is that? Is that a chili and mayonnaise sandwich, while you have three runners out on a dangerous mission?
SAM YAO: Mmm, oh yeah, forgot the best part. Janine has stopped in for an unexpected visit, great news!
SARA SMITH: Hey, Janine!
JANINE DE LUCA: Hey, Sara. How’s that foot holding up?
SARA SMITH: Not bad. The doc strapped it for extra support. How’s your… whatsit? “Phased array”?
JANINE DE LUCA: [laughs] Something like that. Still an idea for the moment, but coming along well.
SAM YAO: Um, yeah, hate to interrupt, but couldn’t this wait until you were, you know, not at my comms desk?
JODY MARSH: What’s that? You heard that, right? Are those… musical sounds?
SARA SMITH: Gunshots heard from north-northeast of our current location. Heading there now to check it out.
JANINE DE LUCA: Okay, be safe. Check in!
SAM YAO: Look, will you stop that? Runners… yes, that. Be safe. Check in.
SAM YAO: Runner Eight, report! What’s going on?
JODY MARSH: See, she says she’s not the boss, but look who Sam asks to report?
SARA SMITH: We can’t see anything yet, Sam. We were following the noises, but they seem to have -
JODY MARSH: Oh!
SARA SMITH: Holy Mary, mother of God…
SAM YAO: What are you seeing?! No cameras… I can’t see!
JODY MARSH: It’s a… they’re all…
SARA SMITH: It’s a pile of corpses. Looks to be about forty zoms! They have that white-gray flesh. Looks like each one, single shot to the center of the forehead.
JODY MARSH: And the guns…
SARA SMITH: There are a lot of guns, heaped up around them. [gun click, gunshots] Yup, they look to be loaded. Some of them, anyway.
JODY MARSH: What… what happened here?
SARA SMITH: It’s just like Jameson Hester Stadium.
SAM YAO: The… the what?
JANINE DE LUCA: We’ve seen this before, Mister Yao, very early on, even before you arrived here at Abel. Jameson Hester Stadium. It was torched in the end, but before that, we went looking for supplies, and found…
SARA SMITH: We found this. Couple hundred zombie bodies, perfect headshots. Bunch of guns, just dropped.
SAM YAO: Well, that’s good, isn’t it? The zombie-killing fairy has come in the night and left us a present of some dead zombies! And guns for everyone!
JANINE DE LUCA: Haven’t you heard, Mister Yao, there is no Father Zombie Claus. No one just leaves guns lying around for no reason. Something happened here. Runner Eight, can you and the others scout the area and see if there are any clues? And be quick. We don’t know who’s out there.
JODY MARSH: We’ve got incoming! I headed up to the top of the hill and saw them! About twenty, moving as a pack!
SARA SMITH and JANINE DE LUCA simultaneously: How fast are they moving?
JODY MARSH: … shambling? Like zombies??
SARA SMITH: Okay, still. Time to go. We’ll look through whatever we’ve picked up back at Abel. Take as many guns as you can carry and run! Come on, Five, fast as you can!
SAM YAO: Okay! Okay, right, I’ve got you back on cameras. [sighs] Oh, God, that feels better.
JANINE DE LUCA: Look at the screen!
SAM YAO: How did they… but they’re still just shambling. Runners, we don’t know how, but either the pack’s got closer, or you’ve picked up some new zoms. There are about… oh, twenty, close on your heels.
JODY MARSH: Those are the same ones! I remember that man in the bright green. Oh, God! How did they get here? Run! Run, run, run!
SAM YAO: Raise the gates! Raise the gates! [gate siren, gates raising] Send out Runner Thirteen, Cameo Wood, and Runner Fourteen, Jordan Trammell, with the rifles. We’re bringing you in, guys!
SARA SMITH: Confirm! We have running zoms behind us, that is a confirm!
[gun clicks, gunshots] [zombie groans]
JANINE DE LUCA: Three down. Keep running!
[more gunshots] [zombie groans]
SAM YAO: Yes, head shot! You’re home, guys, you’re here.
JANINE DE LUCA: Runner Four is through the gates. Runner Eight is through the gates. Runner Five - through the gates. Welcome back! Take a break, catch your breath. [gate siren, gates lowering] When you’re ready, I’ll need to talk to each of you about what you saw, and take a look through what you’ve found. Something strange happened out there. We need to find out what it was.
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