Archive for July, 2012

As I was walking through the grounds of the Cemetery, seeing the interactions of the various residents of this marble town put me in a pensive mood.  Seeing them all talk and laugh and have fun made me remember my home, my new home in the FEMA base, and how homesick I really was.

Walking back to the front gate, I passed a grand Mausoleum  and was reminded of a passage from a Lovecraft novel I found hidden in the FEMA Archives:

“The vault to which I refer is of ancient granite, weathered and discolored by the mists and dampness of generations. Excavated back into the hillside, the structure is visible only at the entrance. The door, a ponderous and forbidding slab of stone, hangs upon rusted iron hinges, and is fastened ajar in a queerly sinister way by means of heavy iron chains and padlocks, according to a gruesome fashion of half a century ago.”

This looming presence of the vault for the dead unnerved me.  How Nic and his friends could stand to live in a cemetery, surrounded by death and the dead, constantly being assaulted by the living dead.  “It must be maddening…”  I murmured.

“We’re all mad here, we just ignore it and try to have fun with it.  What’re you doing out here all by yourself?”  one of the tenants asked me

I looked at the individual addressing me, and smiled “Have you ever heard the saying about how no matter what you do, no matter how great a person you are, in the end, your life is nothing but a dash?” I asked  “I believe there was a poem written about it, if you’ll indulge me?”  I ask, motioning for her to walk with me

She nods and falls into step beside me

“This is, if I recall correctly, a poem by one Linda Ellis.”

“I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning..to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears, 1964-1994
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth..
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars..the house..the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile..
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash..
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?”

We walked on in silence for a few minutes before she spoke.

“It really puts life into perspective, when you think of it like that.  Make what you do matter, so those of you who knew you in life wont forget you upon your death.  Make your actions for today matter, because there may not be a tomorrow.”

“Sometimes you just have to enjoy the little things in life.”  I responded with a smile, and a sigh.  “My name is Night Angel, who might you be?”

“My name is Kadie, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.  May I walk with you a little longer?”

“Of course.  I may not be the best company, but I’m always looking to make new friends.”

“Now it’s my turn to tell you a poem.  One of my favorite poets was Robert Frost.  Sure he was a little before my time, but he had a way with words…”

“The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
“The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.”
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can’t help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.”

“That last line, ‘Men hate to die, and have stopped dying now forever’ seems especially true now, now that the dead are walking.”

Looking at the gate ahead of us, I bid farewell to my new friend.  Continuing along my path walking along the perimeter wall, I turn on the CVC, attempting to make contact with home.  Sadly, the signal out here was weak, and I was unable to get a lock on the FEMA channel.

Finding an old tree to sit under, I take a seat and ponder for a while, watching the denizens of the cemetery go about their business, I was reminded of a busy ant hill, everyone doing their duty, all of them knowing what needed to be done.  Looking around, I noticed a lone figure moving slowly toward Kateland.  It was a Zombie.

“Midnight specters rise once more
Moonlight shadows upon the floor
Tombstone sentinels stand on guard
Wilted flowers out in the yard

Eerie sounds move through the trees
As gentle winds caress the leaves
A hooded owl calls to his mate
“We need to hunt its getting late”

No drunken vagrants spoil this night
Graveyard scene in bright moonlight
Tranquil scene, peace all around
Blood drips slowly to the ground

A funeral pyre is proudly built
The fire lit for the blood I spilt
Your undead body bound and tied
Tossed to the flames, in joy I cried”

So went the song by the great Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses.  As I ran towards Kate, sword raised I yelled the final line of that song

“BURN IN HELL!”

Kate heard me approaching and turned around right as the zombie reached her, and was able to get out of the way as it lunged for her.  As the walker recovered, my sword made contact, at the same time Nic fired his shotgun into the beasts head.

“Are you alright Kate?”  we asked in unison.

“I’m fine, but we need to figure out how that thing got in here.”

“I’ll have Hook and Magnum patrol the walls, find the hole.” Nic replied.  Turning to me he said “Night, I think I’ve cracked that tablet, and I’ve got good news for you my friend.”

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As I look across what used to be the happiest place on earth I asked myself how did I get in this mess?

One of these days I will learn to keep my mouth shut. That’s assuming I live through this.

As usual it started innocently enough. I was down on level 6 trying to salvage any thing that might be of use when I ran across a locked door. Not just your standard deadbolt mind you, but a steel door, with a card reader and needing a pass code to enter kind of door.
We had found a few others before, and Night Angel had shown me how to do a bypass on the lock. Normally these were really valuable rooms containing meds, weapons, ammo, or something of equal or greater value
This one however, was really different. Inside was a desk, a chair, and a filing cabinet.
The amount of dust made it obvious that no one had been in the room for a long time. I mean even before the world went nuts.
I did a quick check of the filing cabinet, and everything in it was related to project Greek Island. I remembered this was the old Geenbriar Government relocation program that ran from the 50s through the 80’s.
I figured when the whistle got blown on the project they must have transferred the prior occupant of this office and normal gov inefficiency led to it staying empty.
I was about to leave when I noticed the bottom drawer had the title “Phase II”. Admittedly curious I opened it and did a quick read through.
It turns out the Greenbriar had been the “hurry up and get something now” location. The longer term, meet all the needs location, followed a hide in plain site idea.  Disney World.

In the weeks that followed after we left Bluetone, the rest of the team got called back to base to help set up our new greenhouse.  Alone, I made my way to one of the last working ports in the country.  The Sharks controlled these waters, and I had to be very careful when dealing with them.

With FEMA’s recent ascension to the top 5 rated safe havens within the infected area, we had the resources to help other houses however we could, I offered the Sharks a supply line of medicine, but when they heard that I was hunting down info on Paladin, they offered me the use of one of their boats for free, as long as I included them in any assault we made on the Paladin HQ.  Apparently, they lost a few of their own to the bastards.

Now, almost a month after the siege at Bluetone, I reached my destination.  Hollinwood, Lancashire, England.  The home of one of my old contacts, Nic Saunders, a.k.a. the Wizard.  This man was capable of solving almost any issue, and was one of the best hackers I knew.  The problem was finding him.  He and his crew were holed up in some cemetery.  Walking through the town, I was painfully aware of the fact that life on Earth had come to a grinding stop.  I could tell that this area used to be a bustling community, thriving with people and shops of all types.

Lost in thought, I somehow managed to pick up a couple undead followers, and more were on the way.  “Oh shit…” I said, and broke off into a run, hoping I could find the Cemetery before the Zeds overwhelmed me.  I made a left turn and there it was, the stone archway leading into the cemetery.  I turned around and saw a full fledged horde.  Opening fire, I slowly walked to the arch and started yelling.

“Nic! If you are in there, I could use your help!”  was all I was able to get out before the shots started ringing from behind the walls of the cemetery.  The gates slid open a little and I felt strong arms pull me in, gates sliding shut behind me.

“Well Night Angel, you certainly know how to make an entrance.  To what do we know the pleasure?”

“Nic Saunders, I’m glad to see you’re still alive.  Shall we kill these bastards first, talk later?” I replied with a smile

“Sounds like a deal, but you better have a good explanation for bringing Hell to our doorstep.”

After an hour of Zombie killing mayhem, the last zed in the area was down, and Nic introduced me to the rest of Cemetery.

“Now, down to business, why are you here?” Nic said, sitting down at a table Kateland, the Cemetery’s leader, had procured for us.  Placing a beer in front of myself and Nic, Kate sat down with us.

“More importantly, how the heck did you get here?” she asked

“Funny story actually.  I borrowed a boat from the Sharks.”

“The Sharks? I thought they were non too fond of outsiders?” Nic asked

“They aren’t, but when I told them what I needed it for, they let up.  In the North American continent, the Government of the Green Zones have been sending out hit squads meant to take out the survivors.  They’re calling themselves Paladin.  Heard of them?”

Kate perked up at the mention of Paladin.

“Bastards killed my sister.”

“I am deeply sorry Kate. If its any consolation, I’m trying to shut them down.  That’s why I came here, I need Nic’s help.”  I said, glancing at the man. “That is, if he is up for a challenge?”

“What do you have?” he asked, a bit hesitant.  I passed him a copy of all the files I had on Paladin, as well as an old tablet I had found bearing the Paladin logo.

“The files are self-explanatory, its the tablet I’m interested in.  I’m wondering if you can get some info off of it for me, if there is anything left to salvage.”

“Give me a few days, and I will see what I can do.” He said, picking up the tablet and information and walking off.

“Night, we will let you stay here while Nic goes through the information on that tablet, just try to stay out of trouble.” Kate said, before rising herself and leaving the table.

Well that went about as well as expected. I thought, rising and walking around the Cemetery.  It feels nice to be in a new place, taking in the sights.  I only wish it were under better circumstances…