At the crack of dawn on the day after the outbreak, Paul and Marie got into their car and headed to find the kids. Marie's brother had not returned and they feared the worst. It had been too dangerous to go for the kids during the night so they prayed the kids were safe with their dad and tried to prepare for the next day. By first light Paul and Marie were both desperate to get going.
The city had been in chaos all night - gunfire, sirens, people screaming, running feet. By 3am the sirens had stopped. The gunfire, shouts and screams continued another couple of hours and then that noise also died down. By dawn there was an eerie quiet in the downtown area, broken only by the occasional low moan. They could see figures staggering around in the light of the streetlights and a few lifeless forms lying in the street. The smell of smoke was in the air.
They loaded their weapons - a .357 double action revolver for Marie; a .22 semi-auto carbine and .45ACP automatic pistol for Paul. Ammo was short but getting more would be another mission for another day. Paul took a machete for close up work and Marie picked up a wicked looking kitchen knife from the store. First things first: find the kids.
The plan was straight forward: drive to Sean's and pickup the kids. Since Paul's friend, Doc, was on the way, they would stop at his place to see if they could find him. He'd be handy to have with them, especially because of his medical training, never mind the fact he is one of Paul's best friends. He was pretty handy in a fight too. With Doc along the trip to Sean's would be a bit easier.
They sat in the front seat of the car for a moment before Paul turned the engine over. Paul put his hand on Marie's in her lap and gave a gentle squeeze. They looked at one another and Paul gave his best "it'll be ok" smile. Marie's eyes were red from lack of sleep and crying but she tried to smile back. Neither Paul nor Marie said anything to the other about what they would do if the kids were not at Sean's...
Paul Carlson - Rep 4 Star, Free Spirit, Agile, .22 Carbine (rifle), .45 Automatic (BA Pistol), Machete
Marie Carlson - Rep 3 Star, Fast, Initiative, .357 Revolver (BA Pistol), Knife
|The Carlson car is in the lower left, Doc's house in upper right. 3 PDFs were placed (red dice showing REP).|
As Paul began to make the turn into Doc's neighborhood, he saw vehicles blocking the way...again. "Son of a bitch," he muttered. Fatigued and confused for a moment he began to look for a way around the roadblock. Marie was becoming alarmed to see the crowd of zombies they were attracting.
"Ummm...dear..." she began to say but Paul was not paying very close attention. Looking out the window sideways, he allowed the car to drift into the gas station parking lot.
"PAUL!", Marie said more forcefully, which snapped sense into him. He quickly hit the brake and stopped the car. With a sigh, he shut off the engine.
"I guess we'll have to run from here. Come on! It's not far." Now that the car was silent they both swore they could hear a phone ringing. "Weird...", Marie said.
|The Carlson's drive to the intersection. The car noise generates a few zeds. A random event of "cell phone" starts ringing near the military vehicle (red die).|
|Paul is unsure of how to proceed (fails activation) and drifts towards the gas station (car moves even though inactive). The cell phone keeps ringing...|
|Fortunately for Paul and Marie the drift of the car carries them away from the gathering zeds.|
Doc waited all night, figuring it was safer to stay in his home for now. He'd watched the news all through the long, dark hours. Too many reports on too many channels, but all of them saying the same thing: the dead were rising and attacking the living. Some were saying it was the end of the world. Doc thought that was a bit extreme.
'After all,' he thought, 'even if civilization ended the world would continue.' He started to give himself a little lecture: 'The key to survival is to be part of the world and not depend on civilization.' This was something Doc had gotten very good at over the years. He had to admit, he was excited about the possibilities. Still, never one to rush or make hasty decisions, he waited through the night to hear more from Paul.
'At noon,' he told himself, 'I will leave to go to the store and find the Carlsons.' As the morning wore on he gathered his supplies and weapons and loaded them into his SUV.
|Doc in his bedroom gathering supplies and preparing to travel.|
"Follow me," Paul said.
Without waiting for a response, he jumped from the car and ran towards the woods near Doc's house. He figured it best to stay under cover. Startled, Marie also got out of the car.
"Paul! What are you doing?" she called. Annoyed that he would just take off, she ran after him. Of course, being much faster she easily outpaced Paul and entered the woods just ahead of him. "Jerk!" she said as she ran by.
When they entered the woods, Paul and Marie slowed. There were noises coming from behind Doc's house that unnerved them. A banging, like something was in the garbage cans. They could also hear rustling in the woods just out of sight.
"Probably a squirrel," Paul said, trying to sound reassuring, but he gripped his machete tightly. "Let's just get to the house."
|PEF in the woods, not quite close enough for LOS. Is it a squirrel or something much more menacing?|
Marie knocked on the door. Looking through the glass window, she tried to peer through the slats of the closed blind. She prayed Doc was still at home.
As Doc entered the kitchen, shotgun in hand, he heard someone banging on the door and saw a shadowy figuring just outside. He'd been hearing strange noises around the house all morning. Something was out back messing with the garbage cans, he knew that much. Now apparently that something had come to his side door. He leveled the shotgun but hesitated. His gut told him not to pull the trigger.
"Who's there," he called out. Immediately he thought to himself, 'Idiot! That was a classic movie mistake!'
Fortunately the sound he heard from the other side of the door was not the howl of some undead thing but the voice of his best friend's wife. He went quickly to the door and unlocked it.
|With the 'Fast' attribute, Marie easily out distances Paul and makes it to Doc's door just as Doc is about to leave. Fortunately Doc recognizes Marie as she approaches the door and doesn't fire his shotgun at her!|
"For feck's sake!" Paul exclaimed, feeling simultaneous relief and rage at the squirrel. His heart hammering in his chest, he jogged up to Doc's door just as Doc was opening up for Marie.
"Thank God you're safe," Doc and Marie were saying together. "Jinx," said Marie and they all laughed as they went into the house.
|Paul struggles through the woods. The PEF turns out to be nothing more than an arboreal rodent. Whew!|
|The cell phone has continued to ring, ironically helping the Carlson's make it to Doc's unhindered.|
"Sounds good to me," Doc said through a bite of sandwich. "I'll go with you to Sean's and then we can all go back to the store. We'll figure the rest of it out as we go."
"Thanks," Marie told him. "It makes me feel good to know we'll have a medic with us if something happens to one of the kids."
"Yeah," chimed in Paul. "Besides, we don't know what we might find when we get there or what we might run into between here and there. We need to stick together on this."
"Yep. No worries. I'll even drive. My truck's got more room than your little car," said Doc as he stood up from the table and chucked Paul on the shoulder.
"That it does," Paul winced, rubbing his shoulder.
When they finished eating they loaded the last of Doc's supplies into the back of the SUV. Paul was pleased to see an iced cooler with a nice selection of Stouts and IPAs among the bits of equipment and weapons.
'Good old Doc,' Paul thought. 'Always prepared for any occasion...'
Encounter one for the evening was a success! Next up will be Encounter 2, Day Two: Bushwhacked! Stay tuned...