Back at Hocking college. Our team was reduced to three, with the death of Brandon last night. Though as he had some things to do, he couldn't exactly enjoy his time as a zombie. Unable to frolic with the horde in Athens, he bowed out of the game entirely. Chauncy, in a similar position, would only be able to be out a an hour or two, and as he had classes before then, it meant we were going to need to wait for him. But after tasting the excitement I had last night, I wanted back in the action. So, accompanied only by my brother Geoff, we redistributed the ammo, and geared up. The longshot had proved to be cumbersome for my twin brother, so for tonight, Geoff decided to go light, taking only his side arm with him. A recon. It was more reliable, and easier to carry than the old longshot, and as it took the same 6 clips, it wouldn't hurt him in rate of fire or ammo capacity either. My load was the same as last night. A raider. Once loaded, Chauncy bid us fairwell, and implored us not to die before he got there. After surviving certain doom last night though, we were feeling pretty confident. Not overly so, as we had seen what kinda numbers we were up against. But Geoff and I were stealthy, scrawny young adults who could outsprint many. With just the two of us, we'd be fine.
After arriving in Athens, the two of us navigated our way out of Tarp Alley uneventfully, then approached the green. We saw a pair of zombies swoop past us, and a pair of humans chasing, so we joined in. The zombies then jumped into a large bush behind a half wall, and to my amazement, one of the humans jumped in after them. The bushes rustled around before we finally heard the discharge of a nerf gun, and the human surfaced. Still alive. Though I noticed the second zombie with his back to the wall gazing at him. Soon as I warned him, the human turned, then jumped back in the bushes. Another uncomfortable thirty seconds of bush rustling transpired, before yet another shot was heard. We saw the zombie first this time. My heart skipped a beat when I saw he still had his bandana on, but he removed it after leaving the bush and climbing the wall. The human exited soon after, donning a nightfinder. They thanked us for watching their backs, then took off towards court street. As the two walked away, I shrugged, wondering what the guy was thinking running around with just a nightfinder on the final night. "Oh!" Geoff exclaimed, as a memory flashed in his head. Geoff had actually encountered someone like that in his first game! After Geoff had died, he and the zombie horde decided to frolic through the green, with one of them running through a pile of leaves. That poor zed tripped over something. And as the other zombies ran over to see if the zed was alright, something busted out from the leaves! A single human with a nightfinder! "Shenanigans!" one of the zombies yelled. And with his trusty nightfinder, suddenly half the horde was dead, and the other half was running off. Before the Raider and Vulcan hit the market, giving the humans the rate of fire and ammo capacity to actually manage the massive hordes, there was one player that the horde knew never to mess with. They called him... Shenanigans... It was a different game back in those days.
My brother and I drifted for a bit. We ended up around Bryan Hall, I think. (Its been 12 hears) And after saving a human from across the street to three zombies, we joined another small group. They swapped survival stories for a bit, and when we told ours, some short thick guy interupted me with a short rant. I had told him that Geoff and I were more surviving through stealth, and something about that offended him. I forget word for word what he said, but the part that stuck with me was "You have a raider! You need to be the guy who charges into hordes, blitzing them apart! Abuse that slamfire! Push the attack!" And the rest was him bragging about his exploits with a raider, but as he was using a Firefly rev 8, I didn't know whether I should take any of it seriously. Still, I learned one valuable thing that forever changed my approache to solo play. If I'm alone, and I get ganged up on, the best thing I could do is stay mobile, and press the attack. Controlling their movements rather than allowing them a chance to set up. This would come in handy in my second game. But for the moment, we had to meet up with Chauncy.
With only an hour of play left for him, we met in the central college green. And shortly after meeting, a colition of human players started moving through, so we went off behind a building to get out of their way. We were filling him in with some of the things that had happened and whatnot, then we started to hear the horde. After peaking around the building, we saw the humans break formation and start running straight between Memaud and Galbreath, while the horde gave chase. We started to panic, then moved around the opposite corner of the building while the bulk of the horde swarmed past us. We were confident that nobody had seen us, but for some reason a chunk of the horde had swirled around the building and straight at us, while the stragglers of the horde went through the other side. The three of us were in no position to run. It was purely reactionary as the motor reved up on Chauncy's Vulcan, and the darts started spraying at the bulk behind us, Geoff and I punched a gap through the horde. We ran, but Chauncy tripped. I turned just in time, and blasted the three pinching in on him, and the two others in threatening range to allow him a chance to get up. All the while Geoff watched my back to keep them off me. Once Chauncy was up, we took off. Running and gunning, forcing our way out of the chaos. We managed to shake them off and get away, and our dart count was looking pretty low. Only two kinds of players count their kills. New players, and Scotty Soloman. And after that adrenaline pumping shit played out, I had entirely lost count.
It was starting to get dark though, so Chauncy took off, once we found ourselves to safety. Leaving Geoff and I to fend for ourselves, yet again. But after everything we had been through so far, our trigger fingers were no longer shy. We weren't the same players who hesitantly pointed our nerf guns at a zombie, nor the same scared humans who waited for our demise on a library ledge to a tank. We knew what it was like to clutch survival from the jaws of the horde, and we knew we could put up a fight. The heat of combat had tempered our resolve. Though the sun was dropping. And no players, living or dead were around. After leaving the parking garage, we did what we could to avoide line of site from the green by sticking to Jeff Hill. We had learned from that prior engagement, that the Green was one of the main meeting spots. Although, when I glanced over my corner at it, I noticed it was silent. And this disturbed me. Down at the bottom of Jeff and Morton Hill, as well as the dreaded Cambodia between the two, is an area that students call South Green. Its where most of the dorms are. And by the time we got down there, we were seeing plenty of solo zombie hunters scouring the area, but no humans. Daylight died, and the mood shifted. With the living dead prowling the streets, it almost seemed like we were all that was left as we ventured through the dorms. But then, one of the dorm building doors to our left swung open with an armband and blaster to greet us.
"Sup! You two wanna join us?" A jock with black facepaint streaked across his cheeks and a backwards black cap asked. Shrugging, and relieved to see some humans, we decided "Why not?" And so, Geoff and I entered the dorm of a total stranger, dispensing ammo among his team. They gave us a chance to resupply, then once prep had ended, we filed out. Conversation bounced off of them as they explained the situation. That the horde was after them, and that they needed to get to the parking garage before they did, if they had any hope of earning a human victory. But this team wasn't aiming for victory. They were out for glory. The Skeleton crew to help give more time to the humans. Apparently, final had begun, and most humans were laying low on various evac points across campus. And the horde was traveling from point to point to eliminate the human resistance that was left. Geoff and I were cool with this. It was a group of five plus us two, which made it a solid seven. As we stood in the parking garage, a single moderator entered with a watch. He bid us good luck, as one of the guys took out a camera to capture the final moment.
What followed were a few uncomfortable moments of silence. Then we started to hear singing in the distance, echoing strangely through out the confines of the garage. The singing got closer and closer. And before it had even reached us, a few solo zombies sprinted straight in, right at us. Our darts hit the floor, and one of the guys started dispensing a game plan. If things got too hectic, they were going to run and gun their way up, wittling down the horde just a little at a time. I didn't really get to collect my darts before the next wave came. Then the singing stopped. And all we could hear was the zombie hoard roaring "BRAINS!" And then all hell broke loose. A few zombies ran straight into the stairwell, but most of the horde came right at us. There was no holding our ground, so after the first two vollies slowed the front of the charge, we immediately found ourselves giving ground. So far so good. We ran up the ramp, then did the same. By the time we hit the third ramp however, the zombies were much closer to our backs than we had even realized, and the fighting got more intense. We didn't stand in a firing line or anything. Our plan was to put distance between each other to help split up the horde as they charged. But this particular encounter was nasty, and two of us had fallen. When we got up to the next level, some of the zombies were already waiting for us. The stairwell zombies. It slowed our progress, so we had to go straight through to the top. We ran towards the corner, exposed to the open night sky. I tried to point out that there were zombies hiding in the stairwell behind everyone, but a sudden and abrupt charge shut me up as the four of us remaining fought the onslaught. Geoff was the next to perish, and the other two seconds after him. Meanwhile, I backpeddled, keeping them off with a consistent rate of fire. Then I heard the door slam open, and as i tried to turn around, a pair of muscular arms grapped me, trying to rip off my bandana. I struggled, trying to keep him from taking my mortality, but a whistle cut us off. "You don't need to be rough, he's already dead! They're all dead!"
I was just as confused as he was, as neither of us had recieved the memo on the new tag rules. We thought thats how the game was meant to be played, so we laughed it off. The horde cheered. "One of us! One of us! One of-" They were cut off by a voice yelling "There's still humans at the docking bay by Alden!" Then the zombies shoted "Brains!" and started to leave the garage, picking up darts along the way. Geoff and I unloaded or nerf gear into the car, and ran to join them with bandanas on our head to wipe out the surviving resistance. There were more of them, than our group, and they put up a bit of a fight, but they didn't last nearly as long as our group had. Humanity was purged from the earth, and no one had survived. Somewhere in some alternate universe, there is probably a version of us who made it to the main group and managed to win the game, but let's be real. I would never trade the parking garage death for anything. After all... After that year, we were never allowed to play in the central court street parking garage again.
Although that was the end of Chauncy and Brandon's HVZ careers, Geoff and I were not anywhere close to being through with the game. Next autumn? We were going to play the game from start to end. With ambitions of starting a new strike team. "Tempest." But that is a tale for another day.