[Quick recap of the premise: The idea is that your team consists of you and the protagonists of the last three things you watched/read/played. For me that means JC Denton, Tsukasa, and Bella Swan.]
At first I didn't notice, but as we walked down the corridor it slowly dawned on me, finally hitting me about three steps before we reached the ladder out. I pointed to the lights, “Are these headlights?”
Bella nodded. She grabbed sort of cylindrical container with a strap on it so it could be worn across one's back. It reminded me of either a quiver or the thing the declaration of independence was kept in in National Treasure. She put it on and I asked, “Is that...?”
She said, “Yeah,” then gestured to the ladder, “Come on.”
We came out of a hatch on the driver's side floor. Getting from there out of the truck was somewhat awkward, the '53 pickup simply wasn't designed to have impossibly large chambers in its floor, and thus not designed to facilitate ease of access to said chambers.
Once we were on actual ground, Bella told me to use the flute-thing, to teleport to safety if something went wrong. I asked where it would take me, and she said, “See the giant hula hoop in the back of the truck?” I looked, and sure enough there was a giant spinning hoop in the bed of the truck with blue light within it.
“You stole the Chaos Gate?”
“I prefer to think of it as salvaged.”
“Was it in open water?”
“Why should water have all the fun?” I had to admit, she did have a point. So I changed the subject:
“Why should water have all the fun?” I had to admit, she did have a point. So I changed the subject:
“What's our plan here?”
“At this moment, or in general?”
I said, “Either,” then quickly amended to, “Both.”
“At the moment we're just trying to show you your first zombie, but in general we're trying to save the world. The truck is stalled out. I mean it'll still operate as a truck, or a base of operations, or a library, or a movie theater, or... well, you know. But right now it'll only travel through time at the usual pace.
“So, we'll be taking the slow road to 2052, when the need to save the world should really take off. Until then we should be on the lookout for automotive parts, and attempt to contain any zombies we might meet.
“Right here,” she gestured to the empty street we were in, “there is, I'm pretty sure, a zombie outbreak.”
I looked around the street, clearly a bigger city than I was used to, buildings that towered higher than I'd ever seen in person, then again, when the QE2 came to my town that boat was about 30 feet from being the tallest building around.
Anyway, big city. Notable lack of people. So I asked about that, “Are the zombies the reason there's no one here?”
“Maybe, but remember that-”
I remembered, and we ended up speaking at the same time, “the majority of the population died off,” which is kind of a weird thing for two people to say at once.
Bella looked around and picked a building, seemingly at random, “Let's start with that one.”
The building seemed to be an office thingy of some kind, and at first glance there wasn't much in it. I started checking the drawers of all the desks.
“What are you doing?” Bella asked. It was a good question because what I was doing was apparently useless.
“I told you, I know this story, checking everything pays off.” I found a drawer that was locked. “Can I borrow your screwdriver?” She handed it to me and I looked it over, it had some definite heft to it, and a sort of asymmetrical charm, not to mention, “is that a spark plug?”
“I worked with what I had.”
I turned it on and asked, “Isn't it supposed to glow?”
“No. It's sonic, not luminescent.”
The drawer opened and I was rewarded with a mini-crossbow. I gave Bella her screwdriver back and offered her the mini-crossbow as well, she didn't want it. “If I'm going to use a crossbow it's going to be full sized.”
“The whole point is that it's easy to conceal and doesn't make a loud noise when it goes off.”
“I don't care, if I'm going to use a bow I want a more impressive one than that. It's a fullsized crossbow or nothing.”
“If you're just going for impressive-looking why not use a longbow?”
“Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to keep a longbow at the ready.”
I didn't, so I said, “No. None at all.”
“Trust me on this one, once you've had to do that you'll fall in love with the crossbow's ability to hold its own string.”
And a zombie came out. Which was good timing because I honestly had nothing whatsoever to say at that point. I pretty much froze up in response to it. Bella bludgeoned it the the cylinder, which she then returned to wearing. “And that's your first zombie.” I took a closer look. It looked more or less like an ordinary person, just somewhat more pale and with the blood of its victims staining its clothes and the area around its mouth. Well, the nasty festering thing that I assumed to be rotting flesh was probably out of the ordinary as well.
Bella said, “We should try to clear this block before they find a way out. If we split up it'll go faster.”
I looked at the dead zombie, I said, “Ok,” in a way that demonstrated a total lack of confidence.
“Use the flute to teleport back to the truck if anything goes wrong.” I nodded. Apparently that wasn't enough for her, “Alright?” she asked.
“Yeah...” I tried to sound less uneasy, “Run and hide is basically my standard strategy anyway.” Of course that was in games. Not actual encounters with the undead.
Bella took the lower floors, I made my way up higher.
At first things were uneventful, a lot of empty rooms, plants being the only things alive in them. On the floor higher-than-I'd-like-to-think-about that changed. I was taken off guard by three zombies, I considered trying to take them on with the mini crossbow and decided that run and hide was a better solution. They were closer than I liked, the odds of me stopping them with one shot each were exceedingly low, and they'd be able to close the gap between us before I'd get a fourth shot off. I should have never let them get that close, and clearly I'd screwed up my first solo-zombie encounter.
So I took out the flute and prepared to flee. When a fourth zombie grabbed me from behind and I dropped the flute. I hit its head with my own, probably hurting me more than it but causing it to let go, and then ran like hell, I turned several corners, got myself lost in the halls of the building, and then ducked into an office with a closet, and hid in the closet. As it turned out, there was a shotgun, called a sawed off shotgun but clearly mass-produced to be that way indicating, to me, an unclear terminology.
Similar to the way that manufacture technically means “made by hand” I suppose.
Anyway, I was hiding in a closet, with my new gun, shaking from the adrenaline, and listening to the zombies, who had clearly caught my scent or something, make their way toward me in spite of my best efforts to lose them in the maze of halls. And generally assuming that I was going to die.
But I did have on thing on my side. As I told Bella twice, I knew this story, even if not the zombie parts, and if there is anything that my knowledge of the conspiracy riddled 2050s had taught me is that there's never a problem with just one solution. If I was utterly unconvinced of my ability to survive a fight, there was surely another way to survive this.
I looked around the room, through the mostly closed closet door, as the zombies made their way closer. Not a lot there, but then I looked out the window and had a plan. Not a good plan, but a plan.
When the zombies entered the room it wasn't just the four I'd bumped into before, it was probably every one on the floor. I definitely wasn't up for a fight, even being better armed. So I ran from the closet and used the shotgun on the window, from there I was on the fire escape and quickly taking that as far as it would go, which wasn't that far because the damn thing was broken but I was able to connect from there to a ledge, and then use that to walk across a sign, and pretty soon I was on top of another building.
Which was likewise infested with zombies. I guess they preferred to stay inside.
Now as it happened Bella was on the street for some reason, so I called down to her and asked her to save me. She asked about the teleportation flute, I said I dropped it and pointed to more or less where I figured it was. She asked how I expected her to save me, and I threw her the shotgun. Not all at once mind you, I didn't think it all that safe to throw a loaded weapon off a building so I unloaded it, threw her the gun, shouting, “Gun” and then threw her the ammunition (which had come with a convenient box) yelling, “Ammo.”
Bella suggested the roof of a third building as a place for us to meet, and I tried to head in that general direction.
Shortly after I started making my way there an entire floor of the first building exploded. I suppose I should have been worried about Bella, but my reaction was more of looking over my shoulder with a single eyebrow raised in what was doubtless an incredibly stupid looking expression of curiosity, amusement, and surprise. It seemed like overkill is all.
Getting to our meeting place involved me climbing the outside of a building, not something I'm used to doing. At a sumer camp I climbed a rockwall on occasion, the principal is largely the same except that the holds are better and there's a rope to stop you from dying on a rockwall. Someone once remarked on how quickly I went up said wall, it's not a reflection of skill so much a necessity.
See, I have an irrational fear of heights. The rope doesn't help much with that because the fear is, as noted, irrational. Sometimes it doesn't kick in, other times it does. If it does then any pause has the potential to send me into climb ruining panic, so I have to go fast because anything else will allow me to think about the fact that I'm doing something that scares me.
In the absence of a rope, I definitely had to go fast. If I'd stopped to think about what I was doing there'd be no way for me to actually do it.
As it turned out, the top of the building wasn't as zombie free as it at first appeared, and I did eventually put my minicrossbow to use.
When Bella arrived I apologized for being less than useful, she returned the teleportation flute to me (and tried to tell me that I wasn't that useless, but she's not a good liar) and we worked our way, together, through that building and the others on the block.
When we returned to the truck we had an unexpected visitor. I believe my exact words were an, “Is that...?” to Bella, and a, “Tuskasa!” to Tsukasa. He ran away. Or warped away. Teleportation-fluted away is the point. When I said, “He ran away,” disappointedly to Bella she said:
“What did you expect? You, a total stranger, ran up to him shouting his name like a fan from Hell. I would have run away too.”
“What was I supposed to do? I can't just meet him by appearing semiconscious inside of his truck.”
“He doesn't have a truck.”
“I can see how that would be a problem, but charging up to a character you don't actually know is not a good solution. Why do you want to meet him anyway?”
Because I love the show he's in with an unhealthy passion and would like to give him a hug and tell him that everything will be alright, moreso if I can actually mean it. I didn't say that. I said something else which was also true but not a primary concern: “Because he's a really important thing and the world may hang on what he does.”
“And that makes him different from everyone else how?” Again, she had a good point.
She showed me to one of the guest rooms inside of the truck. I slept reasonably well.
[Some of this written while half asleep or more, if it doesn't make sense, that's probably why.]
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