On a recent foray into the Atlanta area, Commander Todd took time out from battle to deliver a PSA chock full of zombie killing tips. Pay close attention troops, Tony has come face-to-face with the shambling hordes and he knows exactly what it takes to survive.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an uncontrollable craving for candy I need to address….
Season two of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” kicked off with a groan, lurch, and the bang that made viewers jump off their couches. For a show that went through more than a few growing pains during filming of the current season, TWD creators are proving that despite the changes, they are still striving to deliver one of the best-made programs on television. And the proof isn’t in backroom antics; the numbers for the season premiere alone are amazing–7.3 million viewers tuned in to catch the flesh-munching goodness, shattering previous records for a basic cable TV show.
The first episode was light on the bloodshed, but heavy on character focus. We got a serious look at the women who provide the backbone of the survivors. You’ve got the widow finally finding her footing in life after the death of her abusive husband. There’s the woman who has lost everything and everyone she loves and wants nothing more than a way out. And, of course, we have the once-thought widow who is reunited with her husband, but not until after sleeping with his best friend.
There’s a saying, “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.” We were shown in season one that the women handle more than their share of the work in camp. Since leaving the camp, that work has translated to emotional support, and basically the three have become a collective “mommy”–a mommy with a gun and short temper, apparently. The best thing the creators did with that first episode was hit the women where it hurt–their children. One child goes missing in the middle of a zombie attack, and the other…well, remember that bang mentioned before? It wasn’t a happy moment for our survivors.
Episode two carried on with the deep look at the women in camp. Almost instantly, Laurie knew something was wrong. It’s always been a little creepy when a mother does that; how despite distance, she knows her family is in danger. Too many times it has happened in real life to be simply a story mechanism. This story line is really putting the focus on Laurie and when she tells Rick his place is by her side with their son, you knew he’d sit, stay, and do what she wanted.
We’re also introduced to a new group of survivors out on the farm. You don’t take notice of their women until after the men have all taken off to do what men do, risk their necks without a solid plan. But when Maggie decides to make her presence felt, it is a solid blow that snags your attention. As we put it while discussing the episode, Maggie is the face of girl power in The Walking Dead, no doubt.
On this show, the women are a symbol of hope, while the men try to be realists…to a fault. Survivors of any disaster need hope in order to keep putting one foot in front of another. Without it, they’d be like the corpses in the cars on the freeway, laying there waiting for a slow death. Now we just have to wait and see if that hope can survive the horrific situations thrown their way by fate.
Upon returning from Chicago, Yellow Brigade Commander Jinxie G not only got stuck in Chicago’s O’Hare airport, but it seems that the UGA may have been behind it. After dodging, ducking, and turning corners to get away from them, she’s made it back to her hometown, but not without consequences.
Here, she’s checking in to let us know she’s okay, but it’s clear that the UGA is more present now than ever.
And just like Jinxie says, that means the zombiepocalypse is ever closer.
Most people laugh off talk of government or private industry conspiracies, and even the sensationalism Hollywood adds to the theories just makes the general unknowing public skeptical at best. It is much easier for the masses to believe there is no Grand Scheme undermining their normal routine, no secret conglomerate or Unknown Government Agency hiding in the shadows…
…until you become the target of one.
Even without being the direct target, there are some of us who just feel something isn’t quite right with the world, no matter what the media and masses try to make us believe. There may not be a tangible reason, or incontrovertible truth, but that niggling feeling in the back of the head won’t go away just because others don’t see what we see, or feel what we feel in the pit of the stomach.
Recently I made an offer of aid to one of the commanders of the Zombie Survival Crew. It was an innocuous thing, just the sharing of software which I had in my possession and no longer used. The archive file was too large to just share via email or chat, so I took an old thumb drive and thought nothing of sticking it in an envelope and shipping it via standard mail. The story of that attempt was reported here earlier; and now I go from being just one of the questioning but otherwise apathetic masses to one of the questioning few who are looking over their shoulder.
I’ve been friends with another of the founding commanders of the ZSC for a few years, but until recently she has been quite active online – blogging, writing, an active twitter user – available almost any night for a fun time or serious conversation. But looking back at some of the things she told me about her life up to the time we met, and the more recent events which have caused many changes recently in her life, it feels like she has become the target of some kind of plot.
Jinxie G in an undisclosed location
Four moves in less than two years – most of them within the last year. “Official” assistance which has disappeared nearly as quickly as it was offered. And ever since helping form the ZSC, she has been on the run and unable to maintain her usual daily contact and routine. Yes, our own Jinxie has become a target of that Unknown Government Agency that is hiding in the shadows, trying to control the secret of invasion and infestation, which she and others have uncovered and are trying to prepare the defense of the human race.
Her recent move has forced her into a location without direct internet access – not even a local wifi signal to gain access with. Jinxie has been forced to roam the area with her laptop, using coffee shops, libraries, and even McDonald’s to gain access and relay orders. Although they haven’t been able to silence her, and can’t stop her signal completely, our fearless commander is obviously targeted as a “person of interest” to the UGA; communication is sporadic instead of consistent, and it is happening in such a way that none of the upper echelons of the ZSC are able to aid more directly to restore Jinxie’s communications.
There must be something They want to keep hidden, and the ZSC is on track to expose whatever it is. And the UGA is already in place, large enough to affect communications of many types, on many levels, monitoring those of us who are learning to think for ourselves more, act together in uncovering the fact which have so far eluded the unknowing masses. From small town USA on one side of the country, to large metropolitan areas on the other, and surely in place around the world, the UGA is trying to keep their secrets from escaping.
We must remain diligent. Our commanders have stirred the pot, and must be coming close to something. Their recent activities are being monitored, and those of us who make it publicly known we are helping the ZSC Command may find ourselves targeted next.
When one hears the word Necromancer you tend to envision a guy in his mid 40’s sporting a cape and tux combo that would make Dracula drool in his coffin. We’re talking someone like Doctor Orpheus from The Venture Brothers, here. The stereotype of a necromancer is outlandish, so ridiculous that we have a hard time believing anyone would call themselves one at any point in history. Which is probably a good idea. Playing with the dead isn’t the smartest thing to do. Something always goes wrong.
Necromancy is a form of magic. Dark magic steeped in rituals used to call upon the dead. These rituals are long, exhausting, and involve sacrifices of blood. The amount of blood varies on the magic being conducted. Early necromancers believed that more was better. Accounts tell of practitioners standing before blood-drenched altars to work their magic. Some necromancers use the spirits of the dead to predict the future. Others recover the corpse and “push” their magic into it, creating an animated corpse to control and communicate with.
During the early Middle Ages, necromancy was both fodder of myths and reality. The Norse told tales of heroes contacting spirits of dead relatives and asking the dead to cast spells against their enemies. Another Norse saga depicted Skuld, a princess so skilled in magic and communicating with the dead that in the midst of battle she could force dead warriors to rise and continue their attacks. Skuld wielded and army of the undead, the likes of which we consider a big sign that the Zombiepocalypse is upon us. This undead army made her nearly invincible on the battlefield. A feat most men would be envious of and all feared.
Medieval necromancers believed that in order to raise the dead the Christian god had to be invoked during rituals. Because of this the vast majority of medieval necromancers were highly educated clergy members. There were few seminaries at the time and made knowledge of Holy Scripture rare unless one was taught under an apprenticeship. The common man would not have access to the Bible. Nor would he be able to read the Latin it was written in. This was long before the printing press and the idea that every household should have a copy of the Bible in order to be closer to God.
At this time necromancers began to believe that they were not calling forth the souls of the dead to reanimate bodies, but demons instead. The Roman Catholic Church forbade members from practicing the dark magic for this reason. However enforcing the ruling was near impossible given the amount of time it took to deliver missives to other countries.
Despite the Church’s declaration, necromancy was still widely practiced. Through time, necromancers used the stigma towards magic by Christian faithful to fuel their rituals. Necromancers were hunted as witches, driven further underground to conduct their rituals and raise their dead. They twisted Holy Scripture, uttered names of demons never meant to be spoken by good, God-fearing people.
Modern necromancy has returned to the idea that they are communicating with the souls of the dead. While some of the demonic still exists, it is more as a warning. Great care is taken to “protect” the area of ritual, usually with a circle of some sort, to keep “evil spirits” (demonic forces) at bay. Necromancers nowadays typically aren’t attempting to raise an army of undead from their graves. But you should never disregard the idea.
Armies of undead under the control of a necromancer will move together. Unlike a typical hoard of zombies, these won’t fight with each other while reaching for their goal. Think of them as decaying marionettes. The necromancer will use their power over the dead to manipulate zombies to do their will. It could be anything from petty theft to a string of murders. Because necromancy is a type of magic, there are repercussions to using the power. Sustaining the undead will drain them, leave them vulnerable to attack. If you can break the tie between zombie and necromancer, the zombie will return to the grave or attack the person that disturbed their rest. We suggest trying salt or salt water. If that fails, use fire. Zombie flambé, anyone?
You’re walking down the street on your way to work, same as you do every day. A stranger steps out of a shop and walks towards you. Even though you try to move out of the way, they crash into you. After a few muttered apologies, they leave. Only then do you notice that your forearm is bleeding from a small cut and going numb. Within minutes that entire side of your body loses sensation. A little while later you are unable to control any of your movements.
You’ve been made into a zombie.
How can it be that easy, you ask? If you lived in Haiti, where Voodoo reigns supreme, there would be no question about the existence of zombies. However, unlike other “breeds” of zombie we have explored here at ZSC, zombies created by Voodoo are living, breathing humans.
Victims are dosed with a neurotoxin. There has been extensive debate about which neurotoxin is actually used during the zombie making process. In The Serpent and the Rainbow, victims were given a dose of tetrodotoxin powder. Tetrodotoxin is found in puffer fish and its history of being extremely lethal puts the legitimacy of these claims into question. But for the sake of simplicity, we’ll use it here.
The tetrodotoxin works into the nervous system and shuts it down. The victim’s breathing will become shallow. Their body is unresponsive to stimulation. While they cannot feel, move, or breathe properly, most victims remain fully aware of what is happening to them in this state of living death.
Treatment of tetrodotoxin involves maintaining the body until it processes the chemical. Most villages don’t have the means to put someone on life support, let alone the manpower and supplies to do so when that person may pass away anyway. Tetrodotoxin has no known antidote. Once the physician sees no visible signs of life, they declare the patient deceased. The victim then ends up buried alive.
In the cover of darkness the Bokor, or sorcerer, will venture to the graveyard to dig up the victim. At this time the newly made zombie is given a powerful hallucinogenic. Most believe the substance to be derived from the datura plant. Datura causes violent hallucinations and photophobia (extreme sensitivity to light). One dose will affect the victim for approximately 48 hours.
The heavy influence of the Voodoo religion in the region is the key element to the zombie creation process. If the victim survives exposure to the various chemical compounds at play, they should recover themselves and become normal within days. Believers that go through the process convince themselves, with influence from the Bokor, that they are actually a zombie. These zombies will continue to work under the bokor for years. It is only when family members see them that legitimacy of their “undead” condition comes into question.
Bokors are believed to be able to manipulate the zombi astral, the spirit of a person. What we call the soul. Those that practice dark arts (making zombies, curses, etc…) are said to capture souls inside jars. Some will sell the jars as charms. Others gather them. The more captured souls in their control, the more powerful the bokor. To go against a powerful bokor is begging to be “cursed”. That is why so many of these living zombies strive to believe their conditions and remain in service to the bokor.
If the family recovers their loved one, they won’t find much of that person left. Years of believing yourself dead and exposure to powerful hallucinogenic drugs warps the brain. Zombies without a bokor riding herd on them often end up in asylums. Those who aren’t discovered tend to haunt graveyards, as they feel closer to the dead than the living.
We here at the Zombie Survival Crew consider these zombies to be victims. That is unless they attempt to harm a crewmember. Unfortunately it is difficult to tell them apart from the other breeds. Keep in mind that newly claimed zombies of this type would appear sweaty. Their eye movements will be erratic, and though it will be difficult to tell, they are breathing. If you think they are the victim of a Voodoo spell, report the zombie but do not dispatch them.
The Albuquerque Comic Con was the first time some of the Zombie Survival Crew Command team got together in one place at the same time . . . .
We thought it would be a good opportunity to hone our collective battle plans. Instead, it was complete chaos. And that was just Friday night!
It all started when Juliette cha-cha-cha’d by accident in front of Lou Ferrigno. You know, the original Hulk? And this was AFTER she had her infamous fangirl moment in the hotel lobby that I tweeted about. Lisa and I barely managed to stay standing when that little number went down. That was our first indication that Juliette’s street cred might be more bluster than substance.
Keep an eye on the crossbow, peeps. I’m not saying mutiny. I just want to know where it’s pointed . . . and I hope not at my backside.
By the time Lisa, Juliette and I managed to meet up with Sean, Rocco and Norman (having left Anthony at the hotel to get his beauty sleep), we got mooned by a short bus full of college-aged boys during the taxi ride, and Lisa spilled almost an entire drink on Juliette after Juliette spilled part of my drink on herself.
I can’t say I was completely surprised that Rocco’s first reaction to Juliette was to start throwing punches.
I’m kidding . . . though he did elbow her in the back and aim a faux-blow at her jaw later in the night. Don’t ask.
We found him by the dance floor, introduced ourselves, talked to him for a bit only to discover Rocco’s kinda quiet, like me . . . or so it seemed. Look, I know y’all don’t believe I’m shy, but I am. You’ll find out when you meet me the first time. Juliette did.
Sean wandered around the bar and got mobbed by people, and blinked a lot from having his picture taken repeatedly. I don’t think he sat down all night.
When Norman walked in, Lisa and I stuttered (not really . . . who’s writing this post?) and Juliette put her war zone journalism skills into action before the crowds pounced. Good thing too. Because that was just about the time Anthony called to see if we were still alive. Barely, dude. Just barely. Read more…
Yes, we know it’s a commercial, but honestly, what would you do in this situation? Would you make it to your car, or would you become zombie food?
For example, I (Jinxie) have an Avalanche. It’s pretty. Anyway, the key fob allows me to open one door or all doors. Don’t really want all doors unlocked when I’m trying to escape zombies and if I’m alone. Maybe zombies know how to open doors? You never know. Watch Land of the Dead. *shudders* So my ‘lanche allows me to open the only door I need in the event I must escape the shambling hordes. I’m not too concerned with key confusion, like the girl in this video. I don’t have that many keys on my key chain.
So, what would you do, dear crew? Do you have a plan for this?
We have received the following from R.C., who has located the detention facility where Anthony and Juliette are being held.
Command needs help from the Zombie Survival Crew brigades to craft a successful escape plan.
Take your best shot, get creative, get nasty . . . and post your escape strategy in the comment section or email it to Command at zombiesurvivalcrew (at) gmail (dot) com. You have until January 7.
Command will pick the best plan to execute, and its creator will get official ZSC gear (being unveiled publicly mid-January) as a prize!!
Field Report: R.C. Murphy
You want something with a high level of difficulty? Try finding a living soul in the middle of a desert. No, tumbleweeds don’t count. Though by the end of my second day in New Mexico I sure wished they did.
The signal from Juliette’s GPS came from somewhere between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. I traced it to one of two locations. A run-down shack sitting all on its lonesome in the desert, or the hydroelectric power plant two miles away. Neither looked like a secret government agency’s stronghold, but as with most things looks can be deceiving.
I targeted two men to gather info. The first had been in and out of the shack frequently. The second worked at the power plant. On both I planted a small button camera. They should have been more careful with their coats while having a cup of joe.
The first, I’ll call him Glasses, drove to the shack after his caffeine fix. Inside wasn’t much, a typical storage shed. He headed for a red cabinet on the back wall. The doors opened and two armed soldiers greeted him. They stepped aside to expose two sets of elevators doors. Another single door sat to the side of those, marked “stairs.”
Glasses swiped an ID card over a black box on the wall. The elevator doors opened and he began the very long ride down. When the doors opened again, they showed three sets of double doors. Through the small windows I saw more soldiers.
The right door bore a sign reading “Administration”. The left, “Power plant”. Center, “Laboratory”.
He took the center doors. More men in white lab coats milled around. Like camouflage sprinkles in whipped cream were a few armed soldiers, stationed just far enough apart to not look too threatening despite the semi-autos hanging from their shoulders.
Glasses walked past rooms filled with medical equipment. A large steel door slipped by, “Cold Storage” the sign said. He went on to the end of the hall. There the doors were shut. His thumb slid over a fingerprint scanner and the window on the door opened.
Jesus, it was Anthony.
The footage after that was useless. Something blocked the camera’s eye. In desperation I pulled up the footage from the second man’s button cam. I named him Suspenders.
Suspenders approached the large steel door of the power plant and tapped a card against a small black panel identical to the elevator locks inside the shack. The door eased open; he gave a wave to one of the cameras keeping watch over the entrance.
A stairwell door and a pair of elevator doors waited. Suspenders took the elevator, his ride down just as long as Glasses’. When the doors opened I half expected to see the dreary circular room from before, but no. He was let out right smack dab in the midst of a bustling power plant.
Large machinery took up most of the space. What wasn’t filled with machines was taken over by people. Amongst them, some shrewd looking security officers. Their eyes took in everything, I mean everything.
One approached Suspenders, saying something I couldn’t read on his lips. My target followed him down the row of machines, passing more security and a few wary workers. At the end of the hall sat a double set of doors and a black ID scanner like the elevator locks. The guard opened the doors with his ID. Beyond was the circular room.
They took the door reading “Administration”. As soon as Suspenders hit the hallway a shadowy hand covered the button cam. Dangit!
The only other information I managed to find were blueprints for the power plant. It’s made of solid steel and enough concrete to fill in half an ocean. The other wings of the facility? It’s as though they don’t exist.
We have to get Juliette and Anthony out of there. This is where I need your help.
This is the only photo R.C. was able to get to us. They’re locked down tight, folks.
If you’re not up for this challenge, have no fear. A variety of other contests are around the corner!