Sunday, January 24, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 154: Survival of the Fittest

                              Official rules for Humans versus Zombies:
          Two zombies are chosen as the starters. One of them is given a green bandana; this zombie is the “Tank” and requires three shots to stop. Once stopped, a zombie must collapse and remain still for one minute (two minutes for the Tank). A zombie cannot kill anyone during that period. Swords can be used to stun zombies as well; only one touch is required for all zombie types.
          The humans may go armed with Nerf gear. If a human is tagged by a zombie, he or she must drop their guns and gear at the "weapons station" and join the zombie ranks. Tagged humans cannot turn other humans until their guns are put into the weapons station. 
          The goal of the zombies is to kill all the humans and turn them. The humans must survive and find three ID cards, hidden by the game moderators or original zombies at the beginning, and make it back to the safe zone (zombies cannot enter) to retrieve a “cure” (usually a spray bottle filled with water). Humans can't enter the safe zone until all cards are retrieved. They may then spray the zombies and turn them back into humans; this includes the Tank and the original zombie.
          Game starts with the two original zombies released into a designated area. Teams penetrate the area at different points and attempt to find the cards. The game ends with either all zombies or all humans. 

          "In there."
          "We already checked in there!"
          "No, hide in there! I think I hear them on the stairs!"
          Rach, Brad, and I ducked into the deserted classroom and hid behind some of the tables in the front. A group clattered past the open door, but their hissing whispers weren't quite audible.
          "Think they were human?" Rach asked in a whisper.
          I could sense Brad shrugging. "I dunno."
          "That's because you're not an expert," I whispered back, snickering. "I heard no clicking, creaking, or other noises that would indicate the presence of Nerf guns. No, those were definitely zombies."
          Rach slid over to get closer to us. "Can we make it to the stairs?"
          "Probably, but we still need to check the other rooms up here for the cure," I pointed out.
          Brad pointed to Rach. "We could sacrifice her, right?"
          She threatened him with her fist. "No, we couldn't!"
          I sighed and reached over my shoulder for my sword, holding my rifle loosely in one hand. "Get ready to go out the other door. I got this covered."
          The other two started easing towards the side door. I walked to the first one, listened carefully, then dropped my rifle with a noisy clatter and yelled, "CRAP!"
          The zombies were on me in a moment, expecting easy prey. I danced through their midst, the dim light in the hallway allowing me just enough light to bat their grasping hands away with my sword before they could touch me. I got a little fancy on the last one, ducking under his tackle and drawing my sword across his stomach with a little spin for a finishing flourish.
          "Aww, come on!" he yelled, and collapsed. There was probably a good half dozen in the group I'd just dropped.
          Rach and Brad came running around the corner. "Did you get tagged?" Rach demanded.
          "Nope," I bragged, stepping over the stunned zombies and retrieving my rifle. I slung my sword back over my back. "Rach, can you search the other rooms over here? Be quick, though--if another group comes up the other doors when this group recovers, we're toast."
          "Got it," she acknowledged, and vanished.
          Brad and I took up defensive positions, guns at the ready. "Really think it's on this floor?" he asked.
          "What, the cure? No, but we should probably be thorough," I replied, glancing at the weapons station down the hall. Two more game members suddenly rounded the corner, dropped off their guns, and charged. Brad and I dropped them quickly, then started firing into the ranks of stunned zombies that were now waking up and trying to get us. We lost a few feet of hall to a minor retreat, but safely dropped all of them.
          "Rach, hurry UP!" Brad yelped.
          She reappeared after a few moments. "It's not in he--look out!"
          One more zombie was charging us. I hit him in the face, while Brad's shot hit his body. He threw himself into a dive. I jumped over his arm, evading him, and landed in a combat stance, spinning to put another shot into him. Apparently, this was Nick, the chosen Tank for the night.
          I fired, right as he threw his arm out and grabbed Brad's leg firmly.
          "Dammit!" Brad yelled, then sighed in resignation. "Sorry, guys. My gun jammed."
          "Don't worry. We'll cure you," Rach said reassuringly.
          Brad clutched his chest. "I'm...I'm changing...RUN!"
          I snickered at the melodrama. "Later, Brad." Spinning around, I bolted for the stairs with Rach as he ran to the weapons station to drop off his gun.
          Fourth floor of Westerman was pretty much deserted. Rach and I performed a cursory search, made quick by the fact that Brad knew what our strategy was, and settled down to ambush him. However, a few minutes passed with no sign of the new zombie.
          "He should be up here by now," I finally muttered, standing up.
          Rach shrugged. "Maybe he was cured!"
          "Yeah...maybe we won," I said eagerly. "I betcha Betsy and Shorty's team found the cure downstairs!"
          "See, I told you we should have searched the back side on first floor," Rach teased me.
          I shrugged. "So I'm not always right. Sue me. Let's see if we can find the cure-carrier and help with the escort."
          We walked across the the far stairwell, chatting animatedly. As we were descending past third floor, we saw everyone--all fifty-some people that had showed up tonight--clustered around the weapons table. I turned so hard I slipped. Rach laughed at me and pushed open the double doors that separated the stairwell from the third floor.
          "Hey guys. Is the game over?" I asked.
          "Yeah," Ben said.
          I grinned. "Sweet. Who found the cure?"
          A few people frowned. "Wait, aren't you zombies?" one guy asked.
          It was my turn to frown. "No."
          There was silence for exactly one second as everyone turned to look at us...then yelled simultaneously, "GET THEM!"
          Rach and I spun in perfect coordination, yanking the doors shut behind us as the horde thundered forward. "SHIIIIIIIII--"
          "Upstairs!" Rach yelped, cutting off my unnecessary expletive.
          We took the stairs two at a time, making it to forth floor well ahead of the zombies. As we ran down the halls, the doors behind us burst open and the throng poured in. We turned, firing into the mass and dropping a few, but hardly enough to make a difference. A sudden thud in my gun told me that I was out of ammo, so I dropped the rifle and drew my sidearm. Six more shots, and my Maverick was drained as well.
          By this time, we'd reached the stairs on the other end of the hall. I drew my sword as Rach opened the door, smacking a particularly fast zombie (Zach--a regular terror as a zombie and doubly so whenever he was picked to be the Tank) and following my wingmate into the stairwell.
          Unfortunately, the zombies were a bit more coordinated than we'd been expecting. A group of four was charging up the stairs towards us. Rach shot one before her gun ran out of ammo. I tried to smack another zombie's hands away, but she ducked and wrapped her arms around Rach's legs.
          Well, crap. I poked the offending zombie with the sword, stunning her as the mob behind us poured into the stairway. Putting a hand on the stair rail, I vaulted it to land on the stairs going down to third floor, putting me neatly behind the remaining two zombies charging up. I didn't bother stunning them, but took off down the stairs towards first floor. (Second floor was off-limits since that was the biological/chemical floor, and there were a lot of containers that we didn't want to bump into.)
          First floor was, of course, deserted. I ducked into the large lecture hall, since it had something like six exits, and started searching frantically. The search ended a few minutes later with my discovery, so I bolted out the back door into the engineering areas after tagging Zach again. Bugger.
          No cure here either, or, if it was here, it was hidden too well for me to find it in the thirty seconds before another pincer hit me. I took out the two on one side and dodged their stunned forms to run to the wraparound.
          The wraparound, of course, was full of zombies, forcing me to take the stairwell to the south. I took the stairs two at a time until I ran into yet another group. I swung at the first guy, who tried to dodge. I gazed his ribs anyway--
          --which was apparently what he was going for.
          His arm slammed tightly against his side as he collapsed dramatically, trapping my sword. I didn't even have time to think oh crap before I was tackled from both sides.
          "Game's over now!" Zach announced triumphantly.
          I groaned. "Get off me."
          "You left me behind!" Rach said accusingly, jabbing a finger at me as the dogpile began removing itself.
          "You're the one who forgot about your sword," I pointed out. "Survival of the fittest!"
          She stuck her tongue out at me.
          "Your faces were priceless!" Betsy laughed, then imitated her earlier call. "Get them!"
          We all doubled over laughing. "Good chase though, guys," I wheezed.
          "Collect darts and guns, meet back on third!" Ben yelled from somewhere off in the wraparound downstairs. Word had apparently just reached him about my gruesome murder-by-zombie-dogpile. "It's only 9:30--we have time for another game!"
          "Only I'm the Tank this time!" Zach volunteered.
          "NO!" everyone within earshot yelled in unison.

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