Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Session 5 Synopsis

Real Date: January 23, 2012
In-Game Date: December 13, 2011
Session Title: Aerial Recon and Armed Escort

Packed into the undersized break room in the Home Depot, the group talked with some of the other survivors and between themselves to get a plan together regarding the TV broadcast.  Someone suggested checking the radio to see if there was any additional information being broadcast and sure enough, the same message as on TV was being received by the radio. 

After some discussion, it sounded like a dozen people had decided that they wanted to make their way to the refugee camp.  Greg, not giving up on his hope to fly an airplane, suggested that they do a bit of recon to verify the location and validity of the camp before anyone left.  Although excited to get on the road, the survivors were convinced to stay put - at least for a day while the party found out more information. 

Chet and Greg then decided to head to Walmart to pick up a camcorder to record what ever they saw.  Solid video evidence would be more convincing one way or the other than their word alone.  Hopping back in the semi, the two headed over to their favorite shopping location.  As they approached the entrance, they noticed three individuals start running from the entrance of Walmart and into the nearby wooded area.  They had what appeared to be some shopping bags, but did not appear to be looters so they were let go without further consideration.

After the customary knock, the group was relieved to see that John answered the door as usual and the three individuals that ran off were confirmed as regular customers.  After a bit of difficulty finding a camcorder on their own, they recruited the help of John to locate a one with suitable zoom to show ground detail from an airplane.  After the regular checkout process with John acquiring the card imprint, the group was back in the semi. 

From there, the group started the trip to the nearby airport that Greg noted on their road map.  According to the map, the airport was about 6 miles towards downtown Atlanta.  They started by attempting to enter on the eastbound ramp and found several disabled vehicles blocking the way.  Unfortunately, as Chet was pushing through the vehicles a few welds of the metal cage protecting the semi were cracked.  The damage was considered minor and the group continued down the now mostly clear eastbound lanes.

After only about a half mile down the road, six Zombies were seen shambling along the side of the highway slowly westward in the direction of the semi.  The group decided to ignore them for the time being and just continue on their mission.

Chet proceeded at a cautious speed of about 25mph to allow for Greg to properly observe the surroundings from the bird's nest above.  Just over a mile down the road, Greg spotted what appeared to be a couple humans on the overpass above the interstate.  They did not appear to be hostile so Chet pulled close enough to be within easy talking distance and stopped the semi.  The two explained that they came from about 30 miles south and are on their way to the camp they heard about on the radio.  The broadcast they heard was about a week ago and directed survivors to the same camp that the party had just learned of the day before. 

Just as the group was considering giving the strangers a ride, the two guys yelled in fear and took off running northeast along the fenced in overpass.  Chet pulled the semi ahead past the overpass and waited for a couple minutes in case the guys ran back towards the semi.  After seeing several heads and torsos of Zombies moving quickly (relatively speaking) across the overpass in pursuit, it was decided to move on and hope the guys could outrun the beasts.

A few miles later of being on alert, exit 49 appeared and Chet attempted to exit.  With some minor nudging and a bit of agile driving skills the semi was brought in one piece to the surface roads.  Cautiously, the semi crept northeast as the group looked for signs for the air field.  The road looked like it had been cleared of most disabled vehicles and no Zombies were in sight.  Suddenly, the unmistakable rumble of a pair of Harley Davidson's was heard coming from a nearby parking lot and towards the group.
Airfield Recon Overview (click to enlarge)
A: Home Depot        B: Walmart        C: Overpass        D: Airfield

Fingers were on triggers as one of the riders rolled up next to the semi and explained that this was their territory and a toll must be paid.  He stated that they do a lot of work keeping the area safe and a small toll of a couple packs of cigarettes or a box or two of ammo was a small price to pay.   Despite having plenty of currently useless .410 ammo to pay the small toll, the idea of paying a 'toll' at all did not sit well and the group decided against paying the biker.  Despite a warning from the biker that not paying would not be a good idea, the semi began to pull forward.  Both bikers disappeared around a corner just as a shot rang out immediately followed by a slight lurch forward as the front passenger tire blew out.  Frantically, everyone looked around for the shooter, but were not able to spot anything.

Continuing forward, Colton and Greg kept their eyes open for another semi they could get a wheel from.  The rumble of motorcycles could be heard at a short distance as the semi limped forward adding to the tension.  Finally, another broken down semi was spotted just off the side of the road which Chet parked right next to.  Colton and Greg quickly hopped out with a tire iron and started to remove a tire from the semi.  Chet, scanning the buildings around them, spotted what he thought to be a rifleman in a shop across the street.  Deciding to get out of the line of fire, Chet pulled the semi around to put the disabled semi between them and the gunman.  Greg and Colton gave up the progress on the first tire, they moved to the other side and began working again.  Suddenly another shot rang out and the tire they had nearly removed from the disabled semi blew out in their hands.  Enraged and a bit shaken, the two climbed back into the semi.

As they fumed and tried to decide what to do next, Chet spotted one of the bikers riding up the street towards them holding up a white flag.  He got within a loud talking distance and asked if the group had reconsidered paying the toll.  Not willing to risk their lives any further nor the complete disabling of their semi, the group agreed under the condition they be allowed to remove the first tire they were working on.  The biker agreed and waited as Greg and Colton removed the tire and loaded it up on the hitching area of their semi.  Colton then grabbed a box of .410 shells and set it on the ground between him and the biker.  As the biker walked up to pick up the box, Colton shot a bolt through the front tire of the parked motorcycle.  The biker looked in surprise as Colton quickly mounted up.  Chet wasted no time pulling forward and continuing down the road.  As they pulled away, yet another shot rang out taking out one of the rear tires.  No other shots were fired and apparently the gunmen considered the score 'even'.

Distracted by the bikers and gunshots, the group managed to miss the first set of landing strips at the airfield which happened to be across from where they were trying to fix the tire.  Continuing down a road flanked by fairly thick woods, they spotted what turned out to be a back entrance to the airfield and found that they did not overshoot their destination at all.  A couple twisting turns later, the large expanse of concrete of the airfield was before them.

Just after stopping between what looked to be airplane hangers, the group was met by five well-armed men approaching them.  One of the men spoke up and greeted them asking if he could help.  Chet explained that they needed to change their tire as it was shot out by a biker gang.  The man explained that the 'biker gang' was part of their scout team and he was aware of the encounter. 

Since the toll was paid, the man welcomed the group to perform the repairs and inquired as to why they had come.  Greg said they were looking to rent an airplane, but the man said they were not for rent - only for sale.  Before a price could be decided on, Greg continued and said that their plan was to perform an aerial surveillance on the refugee camp they had heard about on the radio and television.  The man said he did not know what Greg was talking about, but asked for a few minutes while they revisited the option of rental.  With that, the armed men went inside the building and emerged several minutes later giving the group plenty of time to finish the front tire repair. 

The man agreed to the rental request and asked for the information they gained during the mission in return.  Chet slowly drove the semi as he followed the group of men to a small private jet.  Having not flown a jet before, Greg mentioned that a single prop airplane would work better for a slow fly-by recon mission that they had in mind.  Nodding in agreement, the men continued along the tarmac and showed the group to a Cessna Skyhawk.  Checking the fuel gauge and some quick calculations indicated that they had plenty to get there and back.  After loading their gear from the semi to the plane and a pre-flight check, they were soon taxiing down the runway.

Despite a fierce crosswind coming from the north, Greg was able to make a successful takeoff and headed west along the interstate.  Not wanting to draw unwanted attention to the interstate below, the flight altitude was a bit higher than perhaps they wanted.  It was clear, however, that the eastbound lanes did have a path which was mostly clear.  Other than a single vehicle heading west, there was not much seen moving on the road.
Overview (click to enlarge) 

A: Home Depot        B: Walmart        C: Overpass        D: Airfield
E: Zombies at Minivan        F: Checkpoint        G: Zombie Hoard

Before long, the aircraft's GPS indicated that they were approaching the supposed coordinates of the camp.  Sure enough, a set of earthen mounds surrounded what looked to be tents and a few solid structures near a small lake.  As Greg circled above, Chet thought to try his GPRS radio to see if anyone happened to be listening in the camp below.  After scanning through most of the channels, a voice answered and said he was one of the refugees.  The refugee indicated that conditions were good and they were being supplied and treated well.  There are about 200 in the camp and it seemed quite safe.  The refugee continued by mentioning he was waiting for word from some others from his group that they were split up from while coming from Birmingham and that his radio battery was about to run out. 
Refugee Camp (Point H on Overview map) - Aeriel Surveillance from Cessna
 After shooting sufficient footage of the camp, Greg began to head back towards the airfield.  Upon arrival, Greg was happy to see that the wind had died down a bit.  As he made his approach, he was coming in a bit hot so he pulled back up for a second attempt.  With solid skill, he was able to safely land the plane and park it where they had started an hour or so prior. 

The armed men were there waiting next to the group's semi.  After moving their gear back to the semi they noticed that the rear wheel had been repaired while they were gone.  The group thanked the armed men and inquired about a TV to watch the footage.  In one of the buildings the men were able to hook up a generator to a TV and Chet attached the camcorder and everyone watched the footage. 

The day was growing late and the group was anxious to get back to Home Depot to show the rest of the survivors what the camp looked like. The armed men wished them well and let them know they shouldn't have any problems with the 'biker gang' on their way out.  As the semi approached the ramp for the interstate, the bikers could be seen following at a distance.  Hand signals were exchanged from the appropriately named "bird's nest" and the group was back on their way westward. 

As Chet approached the overpass with the semi, a figure was seen sprinting from the shadows under the road towards the semi, hurdled the concrete median and jumped on the hitching area of the semi.  As he was running, Greg identified him as one of the men on the overpass and kindly decided not to gun him down before reaching the semi.  At the urging of the man's yelling of "Go! Go! Go!", Chet continued forward a couple hundred yards before stopping to bring him into the safety of the cab. 

Initially out of breath and in shock, the man could say nothing.  As the semi rolled forward, the six Zombies lumbering along the side of the road were once again spotted.  Kim decided she needed some practice shooting from a moving vehicle so she took aim with her AR-15 and soon eliminated all six.  A couple miles later the man recovered enough to tell him his name and that his buddy didn't make it...

Back at Home Depot, the group was greeted by the anxious survivors and the camcorder was soon hooked up and playing back the results of the scouting mission.  Highly encouraged by the video and radio conversation, four more of the survivors changed their minds and now planned to go to the camp as well.  The group then decided to post a notice at Walmart letting people know about the camp and that they could join the caravan. 

They drove over and asked John to post a sign stating that anyone wanting transport to the refugee camp should come over to Home Depot.  With that, the group headed back to Home Depot and got some well earned rest.

After some breakfast cooked for them by the other survivors, the group headed over to Walmart to see if anyone inquired about the sign.  It took John longer than usual to answer the door and it looked like he had just woken up.  John reported that no customers had come in after he had seen them the night before, but he would pass along the message.

Before going back to lead the caravan, Chet decided to head over to the shop to repair the welds of the semi cage that were broken the day before.  After a 20 minute welding job the repairs were finished and they headed back to Home Depot.

Waiting for them were the 17 survivors, plus Harry who had volunteered to drive the RV, all packed up in Chet's RV and a large van.  The caravan headed west on I-20 with enough supplies to last everyone at least a couple days.

Again, proceeding cautiously at about 30mph,  the group traveled about 10 miles before spotting activity on the road ahead.  Colton, using his binoculars, reported that a mob of 75-100 Zombies had trapped a minivan about a 1/4 mile ahead.  Radioing back to the RV and van to hold position, the semi group headed forward to within Chet's rifle range.  Chet laid on the horn to try to draw the Zombie's attention, but even fire from his rifle did not seem to distract the beasts from their meal at hand.  Pulling forward to within 150 yards, Kim let loose with several rounds of AR-15 fire as Colton and Greg gripped the stocks of their shotguns firmly hoping to get within range soon.  Still, the Zombies paid the semi no attention as one of them broke in one of the windows of the van. 

In a last ditch effort to give the passengers of the minivan ahead any chance of surviving, Chet pulled the semi forward and into the Zombie mob.  Several of them were impaled on the spikes in front of the semi and the rest of the group unleashed all of their firepower - shotguns, AR-15, and 9mm handgun all blasted Zombies down.  Several Zombies without direct access to the car now directed their attention to the newcomers on the scene.  A few of them awkwardly climbed within the semi's defensive cage only to be met with Chet's 9mm and Greg's shotgun.  Kim and Colton kept blasting from the bird's nest above, but could not take out enough Zombies fast enough to prevent three more of the minivan's windows from being smashed in.  The flailing of legs hanging out from the vehicle left the group with a grizzly picture of what must have been happening inside the minivan.  Chet continued pushing the van and Zombies forward occasionally hearing the unsettling, yet strangely satisfying, sound of a skull popping under the weight of a semi tire.

After unloading much ammunition, the bulk of the Zombie mob was reduced to a pile of motionless rotting flesh and bone.  Everyone dismounted from the semi and finished off the remainder with hand weapons.  Colton and Greg worked together to pull at the Zombie legs protruding from several of the minivan windows and with the help of Kim dispatched them. 

Despite their best efforts, the passengers emerged from the van - four guys each with bite and claw marks and one woman.  Although apparently physically unharmed, the woman had completely lost her nerve and was in obvious shock.  The group knew that it would only be a matter of time before those bitten would succumb to their bites and become one of the walking dead.  At gunpoint, the minivan occupants were given the option to be checked out and if they didn't have any bites they could come along with the caravan.  Not having the strength to fight a well armed group after the Zombie assault, the minivan occupants didn't know what to do except continue on foot towards the refugee camp on their own.   What will probably spell the death of the woman with them, the group let the five occupants continue on their way as they moved the wreck of the minivan out of the way.

Approaching checkpoint
Continuing on their way, the caravan continued on past the corpses now littering the roadway.  Another 15 miles down the road, another set of corpses was seen dotting a bridge ahead.  The group approached cautiously and got out to check the scene on foot.  Over a hundred Zombified corpses were counted - all dispatched with medium-caliber head shots.  At the midpoint of the bridge, a few vehicles were piled up and formed a makeshift checkpoint.  Within the checkpoint, a dozen crates were stacked.  All were sealed except for one which contained bottled water and food rations.  Other than a flag painted on the side of each crate, there were no other markings. 

After deciding that the group had no idea about where the flag was from, it was finally shown to those in the RV and van.  By chance, a couple of the original Home Depot survivors were able to recognize it as the People's Liberation Army - Ground Force flag.  Further clarification identified it as a flag of the Chinese army. 

With the flag identified, the group pushed aside the oddity of the discovery and tried to assess how much of supplies they could take with them.  Already fairly full with people and their belongings, they were only able to pack the contents of two of the large crates throughout the three vehicles of the caravan.  As the supplies were being packed up, Colton took a look at the many shell casings littering the ground around the checkpoint.  The casings were identified as 5.8x42mm - something he was not familiar with during his time at Cabela's.

Once things were loaded up, the caravan continued the journey.  After only a half mile past the checkpoint bridge, another set of six Zombies was spotted.  One of the Zombies looked to be in military dress including helmet.  In an effort to conserve ammo, the group dismounted and rushed forward with melee weapons at the ready.  A few defensive maneuvers were needed to avoid being bitten, but the combat was quickly over.  Although a bit tired out from the combat, Kim was still ready for some more action with her trusty fire axe in hand.

Searching the area, Colton turned over the military dressed Zombie of Chinese heritage to find that it still had a rifle strapped to its chest.  Immediately upon seeing the distinctive weapon, Colton exclaimed "Hey, that's a Type 95!".  Unfortunately there was no ammunition to be found, but the weapon was quickly snatched up for possible future use.  A Type 77 sidearm was also found on the soldier - also lacking ammo.

Loaded back up and on the road again, the caravan traveled another ten miles or so before another mass in the road was spotted about a mile ahead.  The slight headwind carried a stench which confirmed that the mass of moving creatures ahead was indeed undead.  Although impossible to accurately count, those in the bird's nest estimated the hoard at several hundred strong. 

Fortunately an exit from the interstate happened to be between the caravan and the hoard blocking their forward progress.  Once safely off the exit, the group was faced with a barricade of stacked vehicles which blocked northward access.  Greg and Kim hopped down off of the semi and climbed over the 'wall' to check out what was on the other side.  The street was fairly clear of vehicles - undoubtedly used to construct the blockade.  Neither Zombie nor human was to be seen roaming the streets so the pair checked out a few abandoned fast food restaurants.  Nothing there either but a few rats...  Passing by a few boarded up buildings, the two figured they had seen enough and headed back to the semi.

Pulling out the maps, the group contemplated both finding an alternative route and the feasibility of pulling down part of the wall with the semi...if only they could find some chains...

Zombie Destruction Totals
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