Spooky Empire – Mission Completed
Saturday morning found ZSC Command members gathered round the resort’s Starbucks in search of coffee cups big enough to hold the amount of caffeine we all needed before the Con doors flew open.
And when the doors opened – it sparked a 10-hour onslaught of zombies, demons, bloody priests and people with chainsaws where their hands should have been.
The Walking Dead and Boondock Saints casts were in front of us, Night of the Living Dead to our right, with Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi and Anthony Michael Hall behind us.
Rocco came over to work the Zombie Survival Crew table and lend some extra Command support. Rocco’s move brought Blue Brigade Commander Norman over for a bit. Norman jumped right in and completed a few ZSC Command missions, and got so enthusiastic about it we had to physically stop him at one point.
The Command support of his two Boondock Saints cohorts drew Sean’s attention as well – though it later became apparent Sean has a different take on what ZSC Command structure should ultimately look like. It’s a disconnect I thought we had settled out after the Albuquerque Comicon – but he and I are trying to work it out. Or rather, I’m running from, hoping Sean won’t go jujitsu on me!
Norman, Greg Nicotero, Jon, Steve, Anthony and the rest of The Walking Dead took off mid-afternoon for their panel which many fans later picked as one of the highlights of the weekend. Nicotero thrilled the fans with information about effects and the magic he and his team work on The Walking Dead zombies.
While the gang was gone Lisa and I took the opportunity to scarf down the chicken ZSC loyalist Leigh-Anne procured for lunch, and found ourselves embroiled in impromptu Command strategy sessions with Anthony Michael Hall, Ted Raimi and Michael Kenworthy.
Within an hour all three gentlemen convinced me they were valuable assets to ZSC Command – and I enthusiastically issued rank assignments on the spot.
As the sun began to set, the Con wound down and the after events ramped up. Leigh-Anne volunteered to act as scout and went ahead to scope the VIP party crowd for potential UGA attackers. She immediately felt the eyes of surveillance upon her, but communicated the belief it was safe for Command to enter – as long as we were careful to avoid predator drone attacks.
Norman, Sean, Rocco and Anthony held their own, and ultimately it was Leigh-Anne – our brave volunteer – who suffered the first real loss of the evening when a UGA agent managed to procure her room key. As volunteer keeper of the Communication network she would be repeatedly targeted throughout the evening. We have yet to discern the “why” behind these assaults but can only assume it is an attempt by the UGA to remove Command’s support systems.
We bobbed, weaved and shimmied – and unlike the previous night it was because of the rockin’ music at the poolside party. We even managed to eat at a relatively decent hour. I just wish I could report we actually went to bed at a decent hour. Oh, don’t worry. We all paid the price…
My alarm might as well have had laryngitis for all the good its squeaking did in terms of waking up the living dead (me) that occupied my room Sunday morning. A text message on the other hand seems to have miraculous regenerative powers. Just sayin’.
The call to Anthony and Lisa – to see if they were still among the living – turned into an exchange of moans and groans any zombie would envy. Pretty sure none of us understood what any of the others were saying.
I didn’t quite realize how bad things were until I turned on the light in the bathroom. And I’ll be honest. I screamed. Puffy swollen eyes. Blotchy skin. A general green tone to the skin. For a few heart-pounding moments I feared the UGA had somehow unleashed another assault and infected me. But no. I was thinking, so I couldn’t be a zombie. I think, therefore I am, right?
Phew. Disaster avoided.
Sunday was a blur of monster assaults and UGA probes that seemed to be occurring within a live-action role play of a Marx Brothers routine.
As I attempted to decode an early morning email from Anthony Michael Hall, and Lisa helped Anthony try out a coffin, Leigh-Anne volunteered for a desert mission under extreme conditions. I couldn’t quite believe she still had enough left in the tank to take on a mission of mercy to resupply ZSC command – but she did, and reported back with biscuit sandwiches and coffee.
It was around this time that I ended up with Anthony Michael Hall’s bank card. The scenario that led me to be guarding the card reminded me of an old Danny Kaye movie scene from The Court Jester where he’s trying to remember this tongue-twister: The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true… What? Oh forget it, don’t ask.
On a mission to get something from the ZSC Command vehicle, I opened loading docks doors only to find myself nearly tackled by one Jon Bernthal, who had apparently managed to get stuck outside under the burning Florida sun for some time. Jon did better than Norman, Rocco and I when we all ended up in the Sahara ourselves a little while later.
When Michael Kenworthy decided to don his new ZSC Command tshirt, he changed mid-room without thinking it through – and ended up with people throwing dollars at him. To say he blushed when he realized his mistake would be the understatement of the decade.
Steve played a quick game of ball with The Walking Dead cast mates Chandler Riggs, Adrian Kali Turner and Addy Miller that involved a ninja strike from Norman before he had to take off for his next mission.