We put the vert in covert… or maybe not. Any time the Zombie Survival Crew hits a new city, we tend to draw attention.
Hard to hide when arriving alongside Special Forces commander Michael Rooker, Blue Brigade commander Norman Reedus, plus first lieutenants David Della Rocco and Sean Patrick Flannery. And of course ZSC CIC and Red Brigade commander Juliette Terzieff, with yours truly scrambling to keep up.
Hey, your Orange Brigade commander is no slouch, but Juliette moves quickly. Blink and you miss her darting through a crowd of thousands. Which happened. Several times. Like a flesh and bone version of “Doctor Who” baddies, the Weeping Angels. Sacramento had no clue what hit them when Wizard World Comic Con rolled into town.
Once the shock passed, the locals and those who traveled from out of town to attend the event embraced the insanity and ran with it. The show opened Friday evening to a huge crowd, with many, many more folks to visit over the weekend. We saw tons of creative costumes, homemade fan shirts, and beautiful artwork. The massive crowds inside and out of the convention center attracted a herd of zombies—well over a hundred in the pack—leading Wizard World to call in the God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth, who helped in the good fight to save mankind.
Everyone’s efforts were repaid with smiles, kind words, hugs, and a lot of good local food to fuel us throughout the long weekend. We take pride in personally ensuring the safety of the folks in California’s capitol city.
Just another stop in the ZSC’s bid to prepare and protect the world from the undead hordes!
Being alone is rarely a pleasant thing. Humans crave contact with others, need the interaction to keep themselves happy and mentally healthy. Finding companionship in the zombie apocalypse is next to impossible. From what we’ve learned on the show since day one, human nature demands that most folks take care of numero uno first, then their family. If you’re a stranger, kindness has to be earned. Even after making that vital, living connection, there are moments when a person may find themselves surrounded by others, yet utterly isolated by circumstances no one else can understand. This week on “The Walking Dead” we saw a lot of people suffering on their own, forced to make terrifying personal sacrifices in order to keep one step ahead of not only the walkers, but also the illness plaguing the prison population.
Spoiler Warning: This review contains potential spoilers. If you aren’t caught up with the show, what are you waiting for?
The graveyard in the prison yard is larger than the garden. That alone speaks volumes about the harshness of life for the characters on the show. By the time this illness plays out, many others will join the dead already in the ground. At some point, they’ve stopped creating new life and instead focus on tending to those who’ve passed. Rick tried to convey the importance of focusing on the living to Tyrese, explaining how his time was better spent securing their future food sources than looking into the past and crippling himself with their losses—a rare moment for Rick considering how far afield his mind wandered last season after losing his wife, Lori. Is justice something that even factors into their world? How far can it go toward righting wrongs in a lawless world full on unnecessary death? Tyrese is uneasy killing walkers, even those who are an immediate threat to his survival, yet he demands the head of whoever killed two of their own. We’re seeing a turning point in his life. He’s consumed by rage, becoming a different man. Rick is still on that road and no longer recognizes himself, especially after his fight with Tyrese. What will Tyrese do when he learns the truth? Venturing too far down that road leads to trouble.
Glenn wishes he could move on into the future. He’s never been one to linger in the past, with the exception of Maggie’s abuse at the hands of the Governor. The couple have been the poster children for a promising future since they finally got over that awkward relationship stage in season two. Despite all odds, they found love. They’re planning to marry. At some point, Maggie wants to start a family—when Glenn feels it is safe enough to birth and raise children. Everything they do is focused on tomorrow, what it could bring in the way of happiness and an end to their troubled times. The two of them aren’t stupid. Nothing is going to be fixed overnight. And now, the bright lives ahead of them are in trouble. Glenn is sick and without him to keep her grounded, Maggie turns to her family. Only they’ve been separated from her because of the illness.
The Greene family firmly believe in duty above all. If there is any way they can be of help to their fellow survivors, they do it. Maggie remains on duty as a council member and one of the guards while everyone she cares for is taken away from her. Beth has grown in leaps and bounds emotionally since leaving the farm and accepting the reality of their world. She doesn’t behave like a teenager, takes responsibilities no one should ever ask from someone her age. Would anyone so young willingly be locked away from her loved ones to care for a child who isn’t part of her blood family? Not only that, Beth has learned to accept her father’s calm demeanor. She’s become the voice of reason for the family, allowing Maggie and Hershel to act in instinct—something their positions on the council require. There’s not a lot of time to think when one threat to their survival will eat them alive, and the other takes no prisoners and cannot be stopped in a world where modern healthcare is as rare as a unicorn. Hershel sets the bar for honor and sacrifice for his girls when he willingly walks into the quarantined section of the prison to care for the sick, knowing full well the medicine they need may come in a day, or a week—there are no guarantees in their world.
“We don’t know if we get a tomorrow.” Unlike Glenn and Maggie, Carol is not as convinced they can make everything work in their favor. She’s stood by, quietly caring for everyone under their roof as she’s always done. But there came a point when she knew it wasn’t enough. Being the quiet, motherly figure wouldn’t keep the children from getting sick. Wouldn’t provide the water they need to keep going on into a future she can’t even fathom at this point. Her hand aren’t tied by the position she’s in with the council. At one point or another, they’ve all done horrific things to protect the group. In this episode, we saw just how far Carol would go. Her transformation throughout the series is astounding. We met Carol when she was broken, powerless in the face of her husband’s abuse. After she lost her daughter, her only living relation, she adopted the group as her new family. Some of the impotent rage she suffered then, simmering over the weeks spent searching for Sophia, blew up this week. She went to the dark place and gathered that rage close in order to do what she thought necessary to protect everyone. Only time will tell if it changed her like Rick’s kills changed him, and Tyrese’s rage is beginning to morph him into a colder man.
Too many lives hang in the balance. It is impossible to figure out what will happen next on this show. Daryl, Michonne, Tyrese, and Bob are on foot, surrounded by thousands of walkers. We have no clue how many folks in the prison are sick, or will be sick and waiting for medicine that may never arrive. How long can the remaining council keep them safe and healthy with two of their best fighters in the field?
Did Carol go too far in this week’s episode? Could you have done what she did? If not, what would you have done differently to stay one step ahead of the illness in the prison?
Last week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” must have been the writer’s idea of the calm before the storm—despite the attack at the store and unfortunate death because of it. This week, we really got to see how quickly things can go wrong for a group living in a fortress when someone is working from the inside to sabotage everyone’s safety. Not to mention, the zombie FX for the second episode in season 4 were some of the sickest we’ve seen to date, but not quite as downright disgusting as the Well Walker. KNB EFX outdid themselves . . . again.
Caution: Spoilers below! You guys know the drill.
Who the heck is dumb enough to feed the walkers? This mystery saboteur must be crazier than a basket of cats, hamsters, and puppies combined. The prison was secure, safe. Whoever is at fault for luring in the walkers puts themselves at risk, right alongside a large group of people who only have the council to fight for them. Aside from one or two of the newcomers, for the most part the council takes care of the killing. And scouting. And runs into nearby towns for supplies. There’s a handful of folks working their backsides to the bone to protect the strays Rick, and then Daryl, brought under their wings. Is it fair? No. But they know better than most, the vast majority of people can’t do what is necessary to protect themselves from the undead and living threats in their newly reformed society. Look how fast cell block D was overrun with walkers. The threat started inside and ate away at the living like cancer. In less than an hour, about a quarter of the people living in the cell block were eaten or turned into walkers. It was a great reminder of how quickly things can go downhill. The fallout from the attack drove the final nail in the coffin—without the council, these people would be food—when the two girls failed to fully understand that their father wasn’t their father anymore, and the walker they’d claimed as a pet of sorts, would rather eat the soft meat of their livers than play tag. Sure, they’d be running, but once he caught them it was game over. Permanently. This is why Carol’s scheme to teach the children weapon’s skills is vital.
All of the pressure to be the savior is starting to weight on Daryl. He’s fully stepped into Rick’s abandoned post, doing everything necessary to keep the people safe. Only, Daryl doesn’t have the massive guilt handicapping Rick. From a young age, he was forced to fend for himself—to survive growing up and endure his messed up family. Life hardened Daryl’s heart long ago, something Rick is only developing now with the loss of his wife, his best friend, and the hazy future for his son and daughter. But can Daryl learn to open himself up again? Last week there were glimpses of a softer side to his personality. We even saw a smile or two, though they were hard to spot past the mask he wears to keep everyone at arm’s length. This week, there was none of that. Is there time for emotions when Death comes knocking on your front gate every day? Not when everyone relies on your skill as a killer to make it to tomorrow.
A cold-hearted killer is what Michonne set herself out to be once the first walker attacks happened. Or so it seems. We know so little about her history, about how she came to be the woman who saved Andrea with two mutilated walkers in tow. Heck, we don’t even know who she was before the undead rose, before everyone was infected with the virus. Michonne is a pro at not forming relationships. She doesn’t do permanence, relies on herself to get by, and yet still stops in to visit with the prison council. There’s a part of her true self leaking through her uncaring mask. A part which shattered her calm when she held Judith for the first time. Not only did we see her break, we saw her vulnerable. A position she is never in. She’d rather be eaten than have someone see her unable to fend for herself. The shadows haunting her eyes while she held Judith were heartbreaking. Did Michonne have a child, or maybe a younger sibling she raised? It is possible. Her past is by far one of the greatest mysteries on the show. In time, we’ll learn more. But only when she’s ready to open up.
Rick and Carl spent quite a bit of time opening up to each other, trusting each other again. For quite some time, it seemed like Carl blamed Rick for stripping him of his childhood, for putting a gun in his hand and turning him into a killer. After all, it was Carl who cleaned up Rick’s two biggest mistakes—Shane and Lori. But even when he loathed his father, Carl still wanted to immolate him, using Rick’s passed-down deputy hat as his totem for when he meant bloody, violent business. Carl didn’t seem happy with his invisible farmer’s hat. Then again, neither did Rick. Despite putting distance between himself and violence, it still found Rick. Only now, only after the attack on cell block D, does Rick understand it has to be all hands on deck. He has a skill the others need. Now he just needs to learn how to distance himself, to find the cold, calm place where he’s capable of pulling the trigger and not killing a piece of his soul. Is Rick’s return to the fight too little too late? They’ve suffered massive casualties and more are bound to be on the way with the mystery person baiting zombies and taking out anyone who may be infected with the deadly strain of flu going through cell block D.
The prison has been compromised. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere for them to run—not with so many people in tow. What would they do with those suffering from the flu, leave them to die alone in the prison, locked in a cell on death row? Could Tyreese’s conscience handle that? Or is he too far gone after the attack on Karen? We’re two episodes in and so far, there’s a slew of questions to answer.
Here’s a few questions for you, readers. What would you do in the council’s shoes? How would you deal with this deadly flu outbreak?
Once again the Zombie Survival Crew commanders are teaming together to bring you, loyal brigadiers, easy and delicious recipes you can fix on the run during the zombie apocalypse. The goal is to find a mix of food ideas that’ll keep you ready to fight your way to safety, even when supplies are running low.
This week we’re making Food. Yes, that’s what it is called, Food. In the Orange Brigade kitchen, Food refers to a single-pan dish with everything you find in the pantry that’ll taste good together. Typically, Food consists of potatoes, some sort of sturdy green vegetable, onions, and meat or cheese for a protein kick. Here’s the basics.
What You Need:
1 large cast iron skillet
1 tablespoon oil (Any kind. Butter will also work. You just need to keep the potatoes from sticking.)
1 pound potatoes, washed and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
Garlic (fresh or powder), to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Whatever other vegetables you have on hand – Corn, bell peppers, asparagus, leeks, cabbage, broccoli, etc. Chopped in bite-size pieces.
Whatever meat is available – sausage, chicken, deer, rabbit, squirrel, etc. (No fish. It is too delicate to handle the cooking process.) Chop meat in bite-sized pieces.
How Do You Cook Food?
Heat the cast iron pan over the fire, add oil.
When the oil ripples, carefully toss in the potatoes and onions. Cook until the onions start to turn clear.
Add in the meat. Cook until the outside edges of the meat are done.
Add in the garlic and other vegetables. Cook, stirring to keep the potatoes from sticking, until vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through.
Toss cheese on top and serve in a bowl.
It isn’t a glamorous meal. Heck, it doesn’t look particularly thrilling, either. But it is a great, easy way to get your vegetables and protein in. One pan will feed at least five people.
Orange Brigade, meet Second Lieutenant J. LaRose! While many of you are no doubt aware of his rather messy demise in Saw III (disembowelment does have its drawbacks), rest assured that the LT is in fine shape and more than ready to take on the ever-growing threat to the human race. You don’t even have to take my word for it, just a glimpse into J’s varied talents and wide range of experience is enough to convince anyone. He can glare a hole in a brick wall in one moment and charm even the hardest of hearts with a winning smile in the next. Coming from a solid background of horror movies, television and short films, J is more than adequately equipped to face the horror in the days that lay ahead. It doesn’t even have to be mentioned that J LaRose is related to a certain Special Forces Commander, but we mentioned it anyway.
J LaRose is currently operating from an undisclosed location, and we are eagerly waiting and hoping to hear more from him soon. We’re very sure he won’t end up like poor Troy again, at least not any time soon.
Normally we’re all about the undead, but so many of our ZSC commanders have been busy working on awesome projects of their own, we just have to share. Today we’re proud to announce the release of Orange Brigade Commander R.C. Murphy’s novel, Enslaved.
There aren’t man-eating corpses in this book, but it isn’t fluffy like Commander RC’s zombie bunnies, either. Take a look:
The gods are flawed . . . and they make awful parents.
Deryck knows first-hand the cruelty of the gods. Three thousand years after his birth, he is still trapped, forced to service humans as an Incubus—unable to choose who he sleeps with, and living a life completely devoid of love. There is no out for him. No hope. Or so he thought.
Shayla McIntire spent five years getting her life back on track after the accident claiming her husband’s life. She is content to a nice, boring, subdued life free of the abuse she suffered before. Her friends are worried. They want her to find the man of her dreams and move on.
Little do they know, the Powers That Be have decided the man of Shayla’s dreams for her. There’s just one hitch, he’s enslaved to the gods and it will take power she doesn’t know she has to free him. Deryck isn’t the only one hoping Shayla will free him, though.
Click on the cover to grab your copy of Enslaved today!
MISSION: Rescue one Moira Jones from 6th floor of over run hospital. OBJECTIVE: Search for and rescue Moira Jones and bring to safety. STRATEGY: Rendezvous with fellow members of the ZSC and use skill sets to bring Moira Jones to safety.
Emma’s POV (With Apryl): We moved slowly through the darkened hospital. I tried to steady my frayed nerves and ordered myself to get a grip. Purple Brigade prides itself on the ability to think clearly in any situation, and I needed to be on top of my game for this mission—even if I’d forgotten my go bag in my haste to get to the hotel. Luckily, Jess remembered hers and so I’d been able to receive a bit more information from the Purple Brigade leader, the Oracle. No one knew how many walkers there were, but the situation didn’t look good. Walkers had easy prey in a hospital, and so far there had not been one single report of anyone making it out alive. Still we had two powerful zombie-killing positives on our side: Blue Brigade Leader Norman Reedus and the Leader of Special Forces, Michael Rooker. With them leading us, we had hope. But each moment intensified the danger Moira faced, and there were so many questions swirling through my brain: Where did she end up? How much food did she manage to grab? Were there other survivors with her? Had she been bitten? I shook my head. I needed to make sure we got the first level clear before we could really begin looking for Moira. Out of the whole group, I was probably the newest and greenest. Sure, I’d taken on walkers before, but nothing of this magnitude. Frankly, in terms of combat skills, Luna, Jess’s zombie-killing dog, surpassed me by far. I was glad I’d been paired with Apryl. The woman could wield her Desert Eagles like no one’s business. She made that clear when she took out a walker reaching for Norman by firing an impossible shot right over his shoulder and directly into its head.
I tightened my grip on my full Tang 440, twenty-inch blade. At least I knew how to use the thing. It was light, easy to swing, and razor-sharp. We couldn’t get in and out of the hospital without a fight. Our entrance alone made that quite clear. “All right people,” Michael whispered, loud enough for us to hear but quiet enough to keep any nearby walker from hearing us, “you all know what to do. You still have your walkie-talkies; so don’t forget to keep us informed as to where you are. We can’t help you if you get pinned down by walkers and we don’t know where you are, and we’re not going to go running all over the hospital looking for you when we’re trying to find Moira, got it?” We nodded. He looked each of us in the eye, and I held his gaze, drawing encouragement from his determination. We were usually a light-hearted and cheerful bunch, especially amongst each other, but not now. Finally, Michael gave a satisfied nod. “Let’s go get her. Just remember to watch your partner’s back, and if one of you gets bit…well, you know what to do.” I swallowed and glanced at Apryl, who nodded to Michael. I knew that if Apryl got bitten, I’d have to put her down, but I wasn’t sure if I could bring myself to do it. Cross that bridge if you come to it, I told myself. “Take out any walker you see as quietly as you can, if it’s in your way.” Michael whispered, lowering his weapon again. “And don’t forget, we’re headed for the sixth floor, ward six. If you find her before the rest of us, let us know and we’ll hurry up there.” We all nodded again. Everyone began to split off into their respective groups: Michael and Tiffany, and Apryl and me. But as we started to move apart, spreading out, our phones suddenly crackled to life and we all stopped short, looking at each other, then hurriedly each of us scrambled to answer. There was only one possible explanation for all of the phones going off at once: news from HQ. The ZSC managed to set up a fairly stable system of communication that allowed a single call to be made to up to sixteen people, so no doubt Norman’s crew were receiving the same call. “You have Rooker, Tiffany, Apryl and Emma,” Michael said into his phone. “Go ahead.” “And you have Norman, Eve, Jess and Rebecca. Go ahead.” Norman’s voice came in over the phone. “Rescue team, this is Yellow First Lieutenant Sean Patrick Flanery.” Each of us looked sharply at each other. A sense of foreboding settled itself into the pit of my stomach but I tried not to give in to it. “We’re reading you, Flanery,” Rooker said. “What’s the problem?” “ZSC HQ just received a call from Moira.” Sean responded, and I felt my breath suddenly cut itself off. Moira called? She was alive? “Moira contacted HQ?” Norman asked, sounding as relieved as I felt, “Is she all right?” “I don’t know.” Sean said. I could hear the tenseness in his voice, which made me worry. He wasn’t one to get worried easily. “What happened?” Rooker asked. “Is she in a secure location?” “She said she was, but now I’m not so sure. While I was on the line with her something happened, it sounded like glass breaking and I think something grabbed her. I couldn’t make out much more before the line went dead.” Silence fell. No one said a word. Finally Norman spoke, softly, but determinedly. “We’re going after her, anyway,” he said. “Did she give you a position?” “She said she was still on the sixth floor, and she said the only way up was the stairs.” “Then we’re taking the stairs.” Michael said, “Can you give us any more info? “Sorry, that’s all I got before the line went dead,” he answered. “Stay safe. Flanery out.” He hung up and we slid our phones back into our pockets. We split up and hurried off in different directions while I conjured up in my mind the map of the hospital Jess showed us. The nearest stairwell lay beyond the critical care ward, through another hall. Apryl unsheathed her hunting knife and I readied my blade as we fell into step beside each other. Power was out in the building. Very little light illuminated our path. We peered into darkened offices and patient rooms as we passed, ready to strike if we saw any movement or heard any moaning. Dark smears of blood covered the walls and floor. I could dimly make out what looked like dismembered limbs littered across the cold marble floor and occasionally a shredded corpse. Luckily the corpses in the corridor were just lunch, no coming back. I shuddered at the thought that this was the new normal. What was around us—this eerie quiet, this feeling of apprehension…of being hunted, this was our reality—a dark new world extending towards a grim a future we were hard-pressed to escape. Unless we could stop the outbreaks. That was what the Purple Brigade worked on. If Jess and I made it out alive, we’d have a good field report to make back to The Oracle. We reached the doors to the critical care ward and paused, listening to the hall that lay beyond it. We couldn’t hear anything. Apryl looked at me. “You ready?” I nodded, tightening my grip on the blade. One… She raised one of her silenced Desert Eagles and switched the safety off. Two… I grabbed the door handle and tensed. Three… I jerked the door open and we rushed into the critical ward. I’d never seen such carnage before. Ever. Blood, guts, flesh… all caked on the walls and floor, and strips of something I didn’t care to identify hung from the ceiling. Blood dripped from the ceiling tiles. The emergency exit light glowed red, making the whole place seem to be nothing but blood. The stench was unbearable. The smell of rotten flesh, of death, wafted through the air and I wrinkled my noise, swallowing to keep my stomach under control. “Oh, man,” Apryl muttered. Bodies of patients and doctors alike littered the floor, most torn apart, their intestines strewn across the cold floor, their muscles and organs exposed. Through it all waded fourteen walkers. The one closest to us—missing an arm and an eye—lifted its head and looked at us. A guttural hiss emitted from its disfigured face. The others turned to look. Their soulless, lifeless eyes bored straight through us. The unnatural glint of an insatiable hunger brightened their gaze as they spotted new prey. Together, we rushed the walkers. She took down the one missing an arm with a clean shot through the head. I swung my sword through the neck of what had been a doctor. His body crumpled, but his head clacked its jaws together as it tried to get a bite of my boot. I stomped down, feeling the sickening crunch of bones snapping, and turned my attention back to the others. Apryl felled two more as they approached. I took down two patients and a nurse. Apryl marched forward, duel wielding her Desert Eagles now, putting a walker down with each shot. She took down four more. I got another two, but as I swept my arm back from a stroke, I lost my footing on the slick, blood-covered floor and stumbled against a walker. It grabbed hold of my arms and growled. I tried to jerk free, but it wasn’t letting go of its food so easily. I pulled against it, harder this time, trying to kick myself free at the same time. It wasn’t working. “Down!” Apryl barked and I obediently lowered my head as the walker snarled. Blood and bone fragments splattered all over my face. The walker suddenly dropped, shot through the head. There was no time to wipe my face or thank Apryl. I quickly drove my blade into the face of another nurse and then pulled it free and spun, sword outstretched, and swiped off the head of another’s head. That’d been a close call. Very close. I turned to Apryl, shaken, but alive. “Thanks,” I said, wiping the gore off. “Are you okay?” She nodded, but looked me over worriedly as she approached. No bites on either of us. I needed to step up my game if I wanted to get through this. I looked down at the walkers, now still, on the ground as Apryl took out her walkie-talkie. “Apryl and Emma,” she said. “In the critical ward. Squirrel.” We grinned at each other and hurried back down the hall. Some of my confidence was restored as we made our way down the corridor and the other teams continued to check in. Not one had given the ‘Oreo’ alert, much to my relief. I kept reassuring myself that we would find Moira. She would be fine. There were more walkers in the next hallway, but not as many as in the previous one. I let Apryl handle it and instead pictured the layout of the hospital once again, placing our teams in the wards and corridors they’d last radioed in from. We were all still on the first floor, but judging from where Jess, Luna, and Rebecca’s reports, they were fast moving up. We were making headway. We paused by the stairwell door, hearing a slow shuffling coming from the other side. I nodded to Apryl and she gave a quick, powerful kick. The door slammed back, straight into two walkers. While they were dazed, she unsheathed her knife and took them out. “Apryl and Emma, entering a stairwell. Squirrel so far, we’re going up.” It looked like some debris was blocking most of the doors. We’d be doing a bit of climbing to get over it, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. Everyone radioed in that they were heading up. The higher we climbed, the darker it became, and soon we were in almost complete darkness. “We can work around this.” I murmured to Apryl as I heard her stumble over a piece of debris. “We’re to the third floor I think, so we’re half way there.” “I’m all right,” she said. “It’s just annoying. We need to move faster. I’m worried sick about Moira.” “I know,” I answered, trying to see her in the darkness, “I think we could try and go a little—” Something suddenly grabbed my leg. A growl rumbled in the darkness. I yelped and fell back, banging my head against a stair. “What?” Apryl called out. “Where is it?” My head spun. The walker tugged on my leg. I tried to pull free from its grip, and surprisingly, my leg lifted it up, so it was a small walker at least. Apryl rushed over and lashed out with her knife, but missed and slashed my leg. I clenched my teeth to keep from crying out as the skin split apart. Instead, I reached for my own knife. “I got it,” I told her and slammed my leg back down. The walker growled but let go. I spun my knife and drove it into its head. “Are you okay?” Apryl asked, rushing to my side. “Y-Yeah,” I assured her, wincing at the stinging pain in my leg and covering the wound with my hand, “I’m okay. Could you reach into my bag and get out the bandages? I think you cut me.” She quickly handed them over. I wrapped up the wound as best as I could, hoping that the scent wouldn’t alert any walkers or leave a trail for them to follow. I pulled out my flashlight and flipped it on to take a quick look at the walker, to make sure it was dead.
“Oh my…” Apryl breathed. It was a toddler. Or, had been a toddler. Its neck and part of its leg bore huge bite marks—a little girl with pretty, long brunette hair caked with blood. Her little hands were dirty and covered in blood as well. Neither Apryl nor I spoke for several minutes. We resumed our silent ascent up the stairs. We finally made it up to the sixth floor and approached the door, relieved, but wary. We slid our weapons out in preparation. Apryl went first. There was an odd sound as she yanked on the door. She gave a sort of chuckle and whispered, “You have to push it open.” I laughed a little and waited for her to push it open, but something was wrong. She grunted as she shoved against it as hard as she could, but the door didn’t budge. “Give me a hand,” she whispered. I edged in and shoved against it with her. It was no use. The door wouldn’t budge. “Oh you have got to be kidding me,” she growled. I wasn’t much happier about the situation. “I guess they locked it or barricaded it. We’ll have to go back down and try the fifth floor.” “Such a waste of time,” Apryl said as we started back down. I nodded, not that she could see me, but she expressed my sentiments exactly. If this door was barricaded, what about the fifth floor door? We’d probably end up having to double back and find the other stairwell, which would cost us a lot of time. Time we didn’t have. Both Apryl and I rushed back down to the fifth floor door and tried it. It too was barricaded, but gave way a little as Apryl leaned against it, so I helped her and together we shoved against it as hard as we could. After shoving and grunting for several minutes, we managed to push the door open wide enough to squeeze through. For a moment, I thought we were alone and somehow stumbled across an area that didn’t have any walkers. But just as Apryl started to reach for her walkie-talkie, we heard it. A sickly groan came from one of the rooms. A walker in a hospital gown emerged, staring at us. Apryl started to go for it, but I caught her arm and stopped her as more walkers emerged from the other rooms. Their moans grew louder. More and more began to issue forth. “We’ve got this.” Apryl raised her Desert Eagles while I unsheathed my blade. The thought that one of these things might be trying to get to Moira filled me with disgust and anger. We’re coming, I thought. We’re coming, Moira. Just sit tight. “You take the left side, I’ll get the right, okay?” I nodded, then we both rushed forward. Walkers fell with every bullet Apryl fired and with every swing of my blade. We’re not going to let these things stop us. They’ve taken enough from us already: our families, our homes, and our security. We’re not about to let them take Moira, too.
That is why we chose RC to head down to San Diego Comic-Con this weekend. We need a scout that can maneuver through the massive crowds undetected. And with our current problems surrounding the UGA (Unnamed Government Agency), it is best that whoever takes on this mission can take care of themselves.
However, we want to test our loyal brigadiers and decided to make a contest just for SDCC.
The first person to locate Commander RC will receive a token of gratitude from the Orange Brigade—a ZSC bumper sticker signed by RC and the Orange Brigade’s First Lieutenant, David Della Rocco.
You only have Friday and Saturday of the convention to complete your mission. Any longer and your brave commander risks being discovered. Work quickly and keep your eyes peeled for something small, furry, and ravenous.
MISSION: Rescue one Moira Jones from 6th floor of over run hospital. OBJECTIVE: Search for and rescue Moira Jones and bring to safety. STRATEGY: Rendezvous with fellow members of the ZSC and use skill sets to bring Moira Jones to safety.
Jessica’s POV (With Rebecca): Rebecca, Luna, and I slowly started making our way toward the hallway directly in front of us. Rebecca was a new recruit in the Red Brigade of the Zombie Survival Crew and incredibly grateful that her machete arrived in time for the rescue mission. She ordered a special-made Billhook Machete and also brandished her desert eagle with silencer. I carried my cast iron skillet, a sword that I’d commissioned, and also a gun with a silencer. Luna had her unmatched keen senses of smell, hearing and sight even in the dark, and of course, her fangs and powerful bite. We halfway down the hall when all of the sudden Luna stopped in her tracks and let out a soft growl. “Jess, I see something down there in the hall,” Rebecca said, tightening her grip on her machete. I squinted made out a dark figure hunched over another dark figure. We inched closer. Slurping and crunching noises filled the hall—definitely a walker enjoying a meal. “I got this,” Rebecca said and moved forward. As she approached the walker, it lifted its head up and sniffed the air. Before it could even turn around, I heard the machete swing through the air, and thud—the walker’s head smacked the wall. I moved closer. Rebecca smiled and said, “Four!” “That would’ve been a hole-in-one, right there,” I joked. Surprisingly there weren’t any other walkers the hallway. We made it to a set of stairs.
“Rebecca and Jess, squirrel. We’re at the stairs.” I paused. Something didn’t feel right about how quickly we made it to the stairs. Only one walker, and that was it? “We are heading up.” I put the walkie-talkie back in my pocket. Rebecca, Luna and I made it safely to the top of the stairs and headed down the hallway. We came to a door, and we pushed it open, walked through, and froze. “Oh my God,” Rebecca said. My eyes stung with tears and I knew I couldn’t keep them from pouring down my face. Rebecca and I embraced one another, sobbing quietly. Then we heard a very soft snarl. We pulled away from each other. The tears fell even harder as we moved toward the sound. There it was, in an incubator, probably not even a week old when it had been bitten. Its entire left arm and part of its face had been ripped off. It snarled as loudly as it could—barely louder than a whisper. Rebecca and I looked at each other and knew what we needed to do, but my heart broke. I lifted my cast iron skillet over its tiny body and as I brought it down to end it’s suffering, it snarled. I fell to my knees and wept. Rebecca crouched down and we tried to comfort each other, but there was just no comfort to be had. Rebecca pulled me back to my feet. We searched the room now filled with tiny growls and snarls. There were probably twenty infant walkers in incubators. Helplessly, they all reached, hoping for something to satisfy their longing. Rebecca and I looked each other in the eyes and said at the same time, “They are not alive.” I lifted my cast iron skillet above the nearest incubator and I brought it down, before moving to the next one. Rebecca watched with tears flowing and stepped toward a snarling little body. She pulled up her machete and brought it down, ending its suffering. Our tears never ceased as we made our way around the room, and before we knew it the room fell silent. My hands trembled as I looked at the mangled and cut up bodies. “We had to do it, Jess,” Rebecca said, tears still flowing down her cheeks. “I know, but…” my voice trailed off. A noise came from the hallway. We wiped the tears from our eyes and moved slowly toward the hall. We pressed against the doors to listen and heard the shuffling of feet. I pulled the door open. Rebecca, Luna and I slipped out. We stayed against the wall and moved quietly down the hall. Something grabbed my leg and I fell to the floor hard. “Oh, crap!” A sharp pain shot up my side. I’d fallen onto my sword. Blood ran down my side. “Luna, get it!” I said as I tried to kick at what latched onto my leg. Luna snarled and growled as she pounced my attacker. She bit into it. A sickening crunch sounded as her teeth tightened down on its rotting skull. Its hand released my leg.
“Jess! Oh my gosh, are you ok?” Rebecca knelt down beside me. “Yeah, just kinda stabbed myself,” I said, feeling like a fool. Rebecca reached into my backpack and found some first aid items to mend my wound. “You’re going to have to do it.” Rebecca’s eyes widened as she looked at me and she knew what I meant. I needed her to pull the sword out of my side. “Bite down on this,” she said as she handed me a towel from my bag. I closed my eyes tightly as she gripped the handle of the sword. I pictured Moira. Saw her fighting off walkers, trapped in a room with little to no provisions. Anger built up in me and I felt no pain as Rebecca pulled the sword from my side. She quickly bandaged me up and helped me to my feet. We pressed on and came to some more stairs. I pulled the walkie-talkie out of my pocket, “This is Rebecca and Jess. Squirrel, and we are about to head up another set of stairs.” I turned my flashlight on for a second to read the sign posted by the stairs. It said: “Take these stairs to get to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th floors.” I looked at Rebecca and she looked back at me. “You ready for this?” “Hell yeah, I am,” she responded “Are you?”