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Post-Apocalyptic Interactive Part 2


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[Author’s Note: Here it is after several months, the continuation of my interactive. If you need a refresher, here’s the first part: https://www.omorashi.org/topic/37329-post-apocalyptic-interactive/ ]

 

When the apocalypse first hit, it was thought that humanity would never recover. How could they, with most of the population either dead or zombified? Yet humans have a remarkable ability to bounce back from seemingly sure destruction. Years later, while life would never be the same, they had managed to secure their place in this new world. Safe zones and economies had been established, with hired mercenaries taking on all sorts of jobs. 

Which once again brings us to the bar in the Los Angeles safe zone…

 

Our characters 

 

Miller

The leader of the mercenaries and by far the most experienced, Miller is armed to the teeth with an AK-74 assault rifle, an M1911 pistol, a bowie knife and C4 explosives. Although he is only in his late twenties, he gives off an air of someone much older; not surprising given that he lost his eye to bandits and his family to zombies. His mercenary crew is the closest thing he has to a family now, and he would do anything to protect them.

 

Eve

Created as part of a government project to make the perfect human, Eve is still new to the ways of the world. She is learning about expectations of behavior, but still has a ways to go. Eve is equipped with Digistruct technology, which allows her to manipulate molecules to form her clothes and weapons. Between her pulse pistol and portable railgun, she brings a lot of firepower to the team.

 

Anne

A teenage girl of about 14/15, Anne is small for her age but makes up for it in spirit. Orphaned at a young age, she survived for years on her own before joining up with Miller. She reveres him, gets along with Eve and has a friendly rivalry with David, but still doesn’t get along with Jackson. A valuable member of the team, Anne is armed with dual USP pistols, frag grenades, a crowbar, and biting sarcasm.

 

David

Kind-hearted but somewhat shy, David is nonetheless a valuable member of the team. He is around fifteen or sixteen years old, and spent most of them apart from other people. His only companion was Gertie, a loyal pit bull/mastiff mix, who can hold her own in a fight and sniff out zombies. David carries an AR-15 assault rifle, G17 pistol, a crowbar, and smoke grenades.

 

Jackson

The newest member of the group, Jackson’s first meeting with them did not go well: he had been ordered to kill them. The mercs turned the tables, however, and helped him kill his corrupt bosses. Free for the first time in his twenty years of living, Jackson joined the group. He is trying to atone for past mistakes, but still has something of a hard-edged, lone wolf mentality. Eve seems to like him, though. Jackson wields a hunting knife and a crossbow, with three electric and three incendiary bolts.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

Seated at the bar, Miller reminisced as he nursed his beer. It had been more a year since he had formed his mercenary group, and a few months since they’d had a decent paycheck. More and more guns for hire were getting in on the scene, and competition was fierce. All the best jobs were taken quickly. Miller finished his drink and turned to face his crew.

 

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” he announced. “We’re running low on funds and we need some cash, fast. We’ll have to snap up every job we can find, no matter how hard.”

“Eh, doesn’t sound too different to our usual work,” said Anne. “‘Easy’ isn’t exactly in our job description.”

“Fair enough,” David agreed. “Let’s check the job board.”

 

Choose a mission

> Live Specimen

P.O.V character: Eve

Difficulty: Easy

Details: Dr. Hayes needs assistance with her research. Help her capture a live zombie to further her scientific endeavors.

 

>Lost and Found

P.O.V character: David

Difficulty: Medium

Details: The daughter of a wealthy merchant has gone missing. It’s been a little while, but he thinks she’s still alive. Either way, he wants you to locate her.

 

>By the Light of the Moon

P.O.V character: Jackson

Difficulty: Hard

Details: The next safe zone over, Venice Beach, is being invaded by zombies every full moon. Fight them off and see if you can determine the cause.

 

>The Woodsmen

P.O.V character: Anne

Difficulty: Hard

Details: Woodcutters in Los Padres Forest gather essential materials for construction. Protect them from zombies and wild animals so they can get some decent work done.

 

>Viva Las Vegas

P.O.V character: Miller
Difficulty: Very Hard

Details: Provide “entertainment” for the Las Vegas safe zone. Details are unclear.

 

Edited by PPP (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Okay, here's the deal. This one was originally supposed to have illustrations, but I decided it had taken long enough already. I'll include them with the next entry, okay?

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Mission selected: By the Light of the Moon

 

[P.O.V: Jackson]

 

Jackson studied the strips of paper.

“How about this one?” he inquired. “Seems pretty simple; we just have to waste a bunch of zombies.”

“I’m always down for that,” said Anne.

“They attack every full moon?” said Eve. “That is not normal.”

“We’ll be careful,” Miller assured her. “The next full moon’s tomorrow night; we better get going.”

 

The mercenaries piled into their jeep and headed out. With five people and a very large dog, it was a tight fit. With Miller driving and Anne calling shotgun, Jackson was forced to squeeze into the back seat with Eve and David; Gertie lying at their feet. Jackson shifted in his seat as Eve was pressed up next to him. He tried to move his legs, because he was pretty sure Gertie was drooling on his boots.

 

The sun was setting when they arrived at Venice Beach. Jackson hauled himself out of the jeep, stretched his legs, and took a look at the safe zone that lay before him. Waves lapped gently against a boardwalk that stretched to the horizon. Inland, palm trees and multi-colored buildings lined a vast stretch of concrete. Various people were wandering about, looking like they didn’t have a care in the world.

“Nice place,” David commented. Jackson was silent. Truth be told, it was a little too vibrant for his tastes.

 

The mercenaries headed down the street, where a young woman in a business suit confronted them.

“You’re here about the mercenary job , I take it.”

“Right,” Miller confirmed.

“I’m Mayor Hill,” said the woman, extending a hand. “I’m in charge of operations in this safe zone.”

Miller shook her hand. “Glad to meet you. Now, what can you tell us about your zombie problem?”

“Not much,” Hill admitted. “They come from the sea and attack every full moon, then retreat when morning comes. Nobody’s sure why.”

“Perhaps it has something to do with the tides,” Eve suggested.

“Could be,” said Hill. “In any event, we’ll pay your regular rate for you to take them out and extra if you can put a stop to it for good. The full moon isn’t until tomorrow night, but you’re welcome to stay at one of our inns until then.”

 

The inn was a cozy white stucco building with an outdoor dining area overlooking the beach. The mercenaries ate a quick dinner, then headed upstairs to their rooms. There were three available and David lost the coin toss, so Jackson got one to himself. The bed was comfortable enough, but when night came he found he couldn’t sleep. Questions kept racing through his head. Why were these zombies not acting like the rest? Why was it only happening at this location. As he tossed and turned, he realized something else was keeping him awake: his bladder.

 

Grumbling to himself, Jackson got out of bed and headed downstairs to the men’s room. Upon entering, he saw that the only stall was occupied and the only option was a tough-style urinal.

Whatever, beggars can’t be choosers, he thought as he unzipped and let loose. Jackson’s pee stream hit the back of the trough with a sound like rain on a tin roof. He shook off and zipped up once he was finished, then turned to leave. Just then, the stall door opened.

 

“Keep it down! I’m tryin’ to sleep here!” yelled the occupant, a shabbily-dressed man with a long gray beard.

“Why the hell are you sleeping in a toilet stall?” Jackson inquired.

“Don’t trust beds, I don’t!” said the old man. “Last time I slept in one was fourteen years ago. It was a different time, let me tell you. Why, back in those days-”

“Whatever,” said Jackson, making for the exit. This geezer was getting on his nerves.

“Say, you’re one of them mercenaries, aren’t ya?” the stranger asked. “Here to kill the zombies?”

“Maybe.” said Jackson curtly. “What’s it to you?”

“I know all about ‘em!” the old man exclaimed. “I know why they’re comin’ here and how we can stop ‘em.”

“Uh-huh,” said Jackson, doubtful. “Then why haven’t you told anyone?”

“They all think I’m crazy! ‘Crazy Louie,’ they call me. ‘Oh, that Crazy Louie, he’s crazy,’ they say. ‘That’s why we call him Crazy Louie.’ But I know more than they think, that’s for sure. I can tell ya about lots of things! Including the zombies!”

Jackson hesitated. Could Crazy Louie actually know something? Or was he just living up to his nickname?

 

Listen to Crazy Louie?

 

>Sure

 

>No way

 

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I'm going to be honest here: between Omovember and some personal matters, I completely forgot about this. That is until @WhiteSnake posted, and I've been playing catch-up ever since. I'll post more as long as people are still replying, even if it takes a while. Also, WhiteSnake, you're completely right. I missed that detail, good catch!

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1343568445_PAR26.thumb.jpg.baf5c07b0b1dba848debf58eeb04127f.jpg

What the hell, thought Jackson. It’s not like I have anything to lose.

“Okay, old man,” he said. “Tell me about the zombies.”

“Haha!” Louie cackled joyously. “Finally, somebody with some sense! Anyways, back when this place was settled, we had a whole buncha zombies to clear out. We cast off in boats from up north and attacked from the sea. They tried to come after us, even though they couldn’t swim. We got most of the zombies, but some of ‘em musta escaped. They’ve been livin’ underwater since then, swelling their ranks with unfortunate divers and fishermen.”

“Hm. That explains where they came from,” Jackson mused. “Looks like you people weren’t thorough enough in your work.”

“Anyway,” Louie continued, “I figured out what’s bringing ‘em: the moon!”

“I could’ve figured that one out,” Jackson grumbled. “They show up every full moon; that’s pretty damn obvious.”

“No, no, no,” said Louie. “Don’t you get it? Living underwater, they’ve grown to be attracted to the light of the moon. If we can make a bigger and brighter light, we could lure ‘em all away!”

“That’s…” Jackson was going to say ‘crazy,’ but he fell silent as he thought about it. “That’s actually not a bad idea, old-timer. But how would we make this light?”

“Well, I don’t have all the answers,” said Louie apologetically. “I’m sure you can figure something out though.” He yawned. “Well, see ya! I’m goin’ back to sleep!”

He slammed the stall door shut, leaving Jackson alone with his thoughts.

 

In the morning, Jackson told the rest of the mercenaries and Mayor Hill about his encounter. At first, they were as skeptical as he had originally been. However, by the time Jackson had finished his story, he could see they were intrigued.

“It’s an interesting idea,” said Miller, “but where would we get a light big enough?”

“I can help with that,” said Hill. “We have several searchlights that we use for security purposes. If we shine them all together, it should be brighter than the moonlight.”

“Okay, but how will we kill them all once we lure them here?” asked Anne.

“There’s an abandoned warehouse not far from the shore,” Hill explained. “We can lure them in there, then blow the whole place sky-high.”

“Sounds good to me,” said Jackson, “but we’ll have to hurry to get everything in place.”

“He’s right,” Miller concurred. “Mercs, let’s move out!”

 

It took them most of the day to haul the searchlights into place. By the time they were ready, it was late in the afternoon. From his rooftop position, Jackson gazed out at the sea. Both it and the sky were a dark iron gray. Beside him, Eve checked the sights on her railgun.

“Are you prepared, Jackson? It will only be a few more hours.”

“Of course I’m ready,” Jackson replied. “Why do you ask?”

“Judging by your body language, you seem worried,” said Eve.

“I told you I’m fine,” said Jackson. Truth be told, however, there was something about the dark skies and sea that gave him a foreboding feeling. He knew it was nonsensical, but for some reason he couldn’t shake it.

Hours passed. Night fell. Jackson had nearly fallen asleep, but Eve shook him awake.

“They are coming!” she cried. He looked around and saw she was right. The searchlights were shining a massive beacon into the sky. Hordes of pale, barnacle-encrusted zombies were rising from the waves, following the lights towards the empty warehouse. 

“It’s working!” Miller called from the next rooftop over, watching the zombies funnel inside.

“Great! Now let’s blow it up!” shouted Anne.

“Are you crazy?” Jackson snapped. “There are still more coming!”

“That may be,” said Anne, “but if we wait, the ones already in the warehouse might get out. We have to do it now!”

 

What should they do?

 

>Blow up the warehouse

 

>Wait for more

 

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  • 4 months later...

Jackson thought it over, and decided to go with his gut instinct.

“We’re waiting,” he said, “and that’s final. It shouldn’t take long for them all to get here.”

“Whatever,” huffed Anne. She jumped over to an adjacent rooftop to join David. “Just don’t expect me to save you when you get overrun.”

Jackson ignored her, sat back and watched the zombies continue their march. They piled into the warehouse just as planned, until one stopped in its tracks and looked up at Jackson. It raised a skeletal arm and let out a high-pitched shriek. At the signal, dozens of other zombies swarmed around it, piling onto each other and forming a ramp of writhing bodies.

 

“What the hell?” Jackson exclaimed. “They’ve never done that before!” 

“They’ve never been attracted to moonlight either,” Anne pointed out. “Now get your dumb ass onto this roof!”

“You little-”

“Jackson!” Eve interrupted him. “We must leave; there are too many of them!” She leapt across the gap to join the others. Looking at the growing mob of zombies, now reaching the edge of the roof, Jackson realized she was right. He swallowed his pride and was about to make the jump when he felt a sharp pressure on his calf. He turned and saw, to his horror, that one of the zombies had made it onto the roof and now had a bony hand wrapped around his lower leg. Jackson quickly decapitated it with his hunting knife, but more were climbing up, ramps forming on every side now, blocking his path. His pulse began to race as the reality set in: he was trapped, and the undead were closing in.

 

“Oh, shit!” cried David. “What are we gonna do now?”

“There’s too many of them!” Anne shouted. “We’ll never be able to make it to him!”

“We can’t just leave him!” Miller argued. “And we won’t be able to set off the explosives until he’s clear!”

“Well,” said Anne quietly,” if he’s dead either way, then-”

“No!” Eve’s voice rang out loudest of them all as she raised her railgun. “Jackson, get down!”

Jackson did as he was told, dropping to his stomach. Not an instant later, he felt a searing heat over his back as several loud blasts rang out. 

“Come on!” Eve called. Jackson raised his head and saw zombified lower bodies slumping all around him, their upper torsos disintegrated by Eve’s railgun. Already, more zombies were rising to take their place. Jackson didn’t hesitate; he made a desperate jump and was just able to grab the edge of the next rooftop. Eve hauled him up as zombies grabbed at his heels. Then, to his surprise, she threw her arms around him in a tight embrace.

“Er, thanks,” Jackson managed to get out, not quite sure how to react.

“Hey!” Anne’s yell broke the tension. “Are we gonna blow this thing up or what?”

“Oh,” said Eve, finally letting go. “Of course; let us do that.”

 

Taking cover behind a rooftop AC unit, they held their breath as Miller pushed the detonator. The ensuing blast lit up the night sky even brighter than the spotlights, knocking the mercenaries flat and leaving their ears ringing. When the sensation finally cleared, Jackson stood up to survey the devastation. Nothing but rubble and charred corpses were left in the explosion's wake.  The mercs waited in silence for several minutes, but no more zombies rose from the ocean.

“Holy shit,” Anne said softly. “I think we did it.”

“I think you’re right,” said Miller, breathing a sigh of relief. “Now what do you say we go collect our reward?”

“You just read my mind!” Anne replied, perking up.

“You all can go do that,” Jackson groaned. “I’m going back to the inn to get some sleep.”

“That’s understandable,” said Miller. “You’ve certainly had it rough.”

 

---------------------------------------------------------------

 

After hours of slumber punctuated by nightmares, Jackson was awoken by a pounding on his door. He staggered over to the keyhole to see Eve standing there looking expectant.

“Just a minute,” he groaned. Still groggy, Jackson raised his curtain and stared out into the orange sky. It took him a moment to realise that the sun was setting, not rising.

“Jesus,” he mumbled, “how long was I asleep?”

“Approximately eighteen hours and forty-seven minutes,” Eve replied from the other side of the door. 

 

Jackson hurriedly dressed himself before answering the door. 

“What is it?” he asked.

“Well,” said Eve, “the mayor is throwing a celebration for us at the local cantina and I was wondering if you wanted to come. I know you are tired and it may not be your preferred environment, but I still thought you might have… fun, maybe?”

Jackson paused. What was with the hesitation in her voice? And should he go? Taking a chance had led to him discovering the zombies’ weakness, but it had also nearly gotten him killed. The stakes weren’t nearly as high here, but he was still conflicted.

 

Should Jackson go to the celebration?

 

>Yes

 

>No

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  • 1 month later...

Jackson thought about it, and decided to take a chance.

“Sure,” he said, opening the door. “Lead the way.”

 

By the time they arrived, the celebrations were well underway. Drinks were being poured and the air was filled with a raucous mixture of music, cheers and laughter. 

“The mayor already made her speech,” Eve explained, having to yell to make herself heard.

“Suits me,” said Jackson. He took a seat at the bar and Eve sidled up next to him. He accepted the beer that was offered, but when the bartender turned to Eve, Jackson pulled him aside.

“She’s a bit of a lightweight,” Jackson whispered. “Get her something weak, okay?”

The bartender nodded, and Jackson turned to his drink, satisfied.

“You know,” he said to Eve, “I never did get the chance to thank you properly for saving my life.”

“Oh, think nothing of it,” she replied. “We are a team; that is simply what we do.”

“Even so,” said Jackson, “I, uh, I appreciate it.”

“Any time,” said Eve with a smile.

 

“Yo! Jackson!”

The man in question turned and saw Anne waving from the other side of the room. He hesitated; the interactions between the two of them were usually tense.

“It’s all right!” Anne continued. “C’mon over, I won’t bite.”

Jackson shrugged and went over to see what the fuss was about, leaving Eve to refill her glass.

“What is it?” he asked, arriving at the younger girl’s table. Anne cast a glance downward before answering in a subdued voice.

“Listen,” she said, “about what I said earlier? About leaving you to the zombies? I’m… sorry.”

Jackson paused. “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard you apologize to me.”

“And it'll probably be the last,” Anne said with a smirk.

“Honestly, I don’t blame you,” Jackson admitted. “I didn’t think I was getting out of there either.”

Anne nodded. “And you probably would have done the same for me.”

“Yeah, I guess - hey!” Jackson realized her meaning and scowled as the girl burst out laughing.

“I’m just messing with you!” she cackled, slapping him on the back.

“Whatever,” said Jackson, but he was smiling as he returned to Eve.

 

What he saw when he got back horrified him. Eve was slouched over the bar, surrounded by empty glasses and obviously drunk. She picked her head up as he approached.

“Jackson,” she slurred, “where have you been? You have to t-try this stuff.”

Jackson rounded on the bartender, furious. “What the hell did you give her?”

“L-long Island Iced Tea,” the man stammered, sweat dripping from his brow.

“That’s not weak!”

“It was the lightest stuff I had,” the bartender protested. “I didn’t realize she was that bad at holding her liquor.”

“Consider yourself lucky that this is a celebration,” growled Jackson. “Otherwise…” He let the threat hang in the air and turned to Eve. “C’mon,” he said, draping her arm over his shoulder, “let’s get you out of here.”

 

Jackson steered Eve towards the back door and out into the alley behind the cantina. He sucked in a breath of fresh air and turned to her.

“Are you all right?” he asked. “Can you stand?”

“S-sure,” Eve replied, pulling away from him. She swayed on her feet a little, but managed to stay upright.

“Good,” said Jackson. “Now, let’s get you back to the inn. You’ll feel better in the morning.”

“H-hold on,” Eve groaned. “I need- I gotta… gotta pee.”

“Not surprising,” Jackson grumbled. “Okay, the women’s room is-”

“N-no time!” Eve interrupted. Her eyes went wide, and Jackson saw a small damp spot appear at the crotch of her suit. “I’m just gonna do it here.”

“At least take your clothes off first!” Jackson protested. “You’ll get them soaked!”

“Y-you first,” teased Eve, the damp spot growing larger.

“This is not happening this is not happening this is not-” Jackson stopped muttering to himself. “Okay, okay I will! Just deconstruct your suit already!”

 

Jackson had no intention of following through on his promise. He mimed unzipping his pants, but apparently that was good enough for Eve. Her suit vanished and with a blissful sigh she began peeing freely. The golden liquid came out in a wild stream, spraying the insides of her thighs and running down to form a massive puddle at her feet. She let out an almost orgasmic moan and Jackson turned away, embarrassed. Behind him, he heard the torrent of urine gradually slow down to a stream, then a trickle, then just a few drips. Only when there was absolute silence did he turn back around. Eve was standing there, still naked and looking at the pool she had made with apparent pride.

 

“Haahhh,” she sighed, “that felt good. Look how much there is!”

“Um, yeah,” said Jackson. “Now why don’t you put your clothes back on so we can head back to the inn?”
“Nah. I think I’ll stay like this,” said Eve, shaking her hips to dry herself off. 

“Well, you can’t go back like that,” Jackson protested. He fidgeted; this was getting awkward.

“W-what’s goin’ on?” asked Eve. “You need to pee too?”

“No, I’m fine,” Jackson assured her.

“Iss okay,” Eve slurred, staggering over to him. “I’ll help you out.”

“What are you- ah!” Jackson jumped back as Eve reached for his fly. She continued forward, pressing up against him.

“Eve, stop,” said Jackson, trying to keep his voice level. “You’re drunk, this isn’t you.”

“Whadda you mean?” asked Eve, draping her arms over him. “Don’t tell me you don’t like this.”

 

It was true; the feeling of her nude body touching him wasn’t exactly unpleasant. Still, Jackson wasn’t about to take advantage of her in this state.

“No,” he said firmly. “I don’t like this, and if you were sober you wouldn’t either.”

“Really?” Eve’s hand reached for his crotch again. “Sure feels like you do.”

Jackson pulled away violently; this was the last straw, he couldn’t take it anymore. He dashed back inside, leaving Eve swaying in the alley, and searched the bar until he found Anne.

“What’s going on, Jackson?”

“Look, I need you to take care of Eve,” Jackson explained, his face flushed. “She’s completely wasted, and she won’t listen to me.”

“Okay?” Anne replied. It was clear that she knew there was more going on, but thankfully she didn’t pry. 

 

Jackson breathed a sigh of relief.

“You’re a lifesaver, Anne.”

The girl chuckled. “Wouldn’t be the first time.”

With that, Anne headed out to the alley, and Jackson to the inn, where he took a long cold shower. With any luck, Eve wouldn’t remember what happened in the morning. He sighed.

“This was a disaster,” Jackson said to himself. Still, as he headed to bed he had to admit it: he had a good time.

 

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Mission complete!

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Okay, that's one down. The next mission selection will be up shortly, but in the meantime I have a question for everyone. Should I post drawings like I did for the first interactive. It would mean a longer wait between posts and I honestly don't think they're great, but I'll do them if people want them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the feedback, everybody. I think I'll still do them, but less frequently. Anyway, here's the one from last time and the next post.

355596318_PAR27.thumb.jpg.ad03c2209bead3de1f0546742c3869ca.jpg

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The reward money from the job had been substantial, and to Jackson’s relief, Eve didn’t seem to remember her drunken escapades. Either that, or she just didn’t mention it. It wasn’t long, however, before the mercenaries found themselves on the hunt for a job once again.

 

Choose a mission

 

> Live Specimen

P.O.V character: Eve

Difficulty: Easy

Details: Dr. Hayes needs assistance with her research. Help her capture a live zombie to further her scientific endeavors.

 

>Lost and Found

P.O.V character: David

Difficulty: Medium

Details: The daughter of a wealthy merchant has gone missing. It’s been a little while, but he thinks she’s still alive. Either way, he wants you to locate her.

 

>The Woodsmen

P.O.V character: Anne

Difficulty: Hard

Details: Woodcutters in Los Padres Forest gather essential materials for construction. Protect them from zombies and wild animals so they can get some decent work done.

 

>Viva Las Vegas

P.O.V character: Miller
Difficulty: Very Hard

Details: Provide “entertainment” for the Las Vegas safe zone. Details are unclear.

 

 

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Mission selected: The Woodsmen

 

[P.O.V: Anne]

 

“This one looks good,” David said, taking down a strip of paper. “We’ll get to see a new place.”

“And there’s a good chance we’ll get to kill some zombies,” Anne added, taking a look.

“That’s good enough for me,” said Miller. “Let’s hit the road!”

“I call shotgun!” Anne announced.

“Again?” groaned Jackson.

 

The drive to the site took them along a winding road through a once-affluent abandoned neighborhood, with mountains to their right and a beautiful stretch of beach to their left.

“Nice view,” Anne commented. She turned to Miller. “You ever been to this place?”

“Once,” Miller replied, “a long time ago. It’s a beautiful place; forests and canyons and rivers…” He trailed off, reminiscing. “And it’s huge; nearly 200,000 acres. I’ve barely seen a fraction of it.”

“Sounds great,” said Anne, not sarcastic for once.

 

After about an hour, the jeep turned towards the mountains, heading through miles of scrubland. Eventually, an outpost came into view at the side of the road, staffed by a large bearded man. As they got closer, he stepped out and waved to the mercenaries.

“I take it you’re not with our crew?” he asked. 

“No, we’re here about the contract,” Miller replied. “For protection?”

“I see,” said the bearded man. “I’m glad someone finally took it. We’ve been trying to get some decent lumber for months, but zombies keep chasing off the woodcutters. The main mill’s a little way up the road, I’ll radio in and let them know you’re coming.”

“Much obliged,” said Miller with a salute.

 

As they drove onward, the chaparral gave way to lightly wooded foothills, populated mostly with oak. Anne heard the mill before she saw it; a loud buzzing noise filled the air, mixed with a steady series of barked orders. When they got closer, she saw the building was long and low, with several flatbed trucks surrounding it. A tall woman in overalls and a hard hat came out to greet them.

“Barry told me you were coming,” she said, raising her voice to be heard over the saws. “I’m Helen. You must be the security detail.”

“That’s right,” Miller confirmed. “Where do you want us?”
 

“Actually, I’ll need to split you up,” said Helen. “We need some guards for the crew that’s heading into the forest, but we also need some of you to stay here. The zombies are getting bolder; they’ve tried to attack the mill a few times.”

“Okay by me,” said Miller. “Mercs, how do we want to do this?”

 

Where should Anne go?

 

>Into the forest

 

>Stay at the mill


 

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