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Sector 31: Operation sur(e)vival

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  • Sector 31: Operation sur(e)vival

    I was never a very social character to begin with, I only noticed when less of my online play mates where connecting to the servers i frequented.
    The streets where unusually deserted, too - but since I was addicted to gaming, you could say I was a hikikomori, I kept living in the dark anyway with the blinds drawn and all.
    Contact to family was kept as sparse as possible, so it didn't matter nobody called or whatever.
    No close friends, either - rather a moetly rag-tag group of movie watchers that met somewhere every month to discuss shit and drink booze.

    It only started to bother me when I was going for one of my unregular shopping runs because my 'rations' of cup noodles where running thin, the parking lot rather empty even for the late evening - yes, I am unsocial.
    I don't like humans. At least groups larger than a hand full (counted with the fingers) - the larger a group, the more the average IQ tends to hit room temperature. I frequent /random/ now and then, after all.

    In the local supermarket, I first noticed the vacant checkouts - they put them near the entry/exit for whatever reasons. But all belts unaccounted, yet the lights on? Weird.
    "I probably shouldn't eat the food they serve here, today" I said to myself with a chuckle. Yeah, I'm weird.

    I push the cart through the silent floor like lead with a GPS directly to the Freeze Fried goods. Wait, silent?
    Something is wrong in here. They allways play that annoying lift music, don't they?
    I still remember the rick roll they pulled when I set foot in here last time - and waited outside until it was over.

    Whatever. But I don't see any other customers in here nor any personal.
    "Did I miss a notice at the door or what?"
    Way too big Stacks of various oh-so-unhealthy "just add hot water!" 'meals', check. Yep. I'm past 30 and still eat that shit. Proudly, even.
    All the preserative additives appeared to work, too, cause I still had to show my ID when buying liquers until a short while ago.
    That reminds me. Over to the drinks. Best friend Bailey's, check. Chicksip? Whatever, I like the sugarstuff. Some juices, water. Check. Wherever possible: Glassbottles. Check!
    CACRASH What the fuuuck mayn!
    Somewhere in the gardening department a tool rack collapsed. Or something. Scared the shit outa me, tho.
    Now, this is weird. I don't hear any carts being pushed over this tiled floor - you know, kerclank kerclank kerclank - nor do I hear any footsteps.

    Seriously, the fuck's going on here?
    pronounced pitsamæn ~ my dreams of future ended years ago. ~ And remember, "outside" is where the pizzaman lurks

  • #2
    A long, heavy silence followed the sound of something crashing. It was as if the world had suddenly ceased to exist for one single, solitary moment.
    As quickly as it had begun, it was over. The silence was broken by a low, feminine and frantic row of cursing,
    "Shit! Damn it! Why-?!"

    Rounding a corner with widened eyes and skittish movements, a messy red haired girl slips into view.
    "Are you... okay?" She asks, not taking a single step forward and half looking as if she was ready to bolt a few yards back at any given notice.

    The question itself sounds innocent when she asks, but the word 'okay' has too much of a stress to it, as if she isn't really asking whether this stranger is alright or unharmed, but rather 'okay' was some sort of code unknowns to anyone but her.
    The odd, flighty little thing didn't much care if this new fellow was bleeding from an unseen wound or starving to death or scrambling for rations like all the rest, she just wanted to know if he was 'okay'. Whatever the hell 'okay' meant.

    "Sorry, knocked a display over." She explained, gesturing behind her towards the source of the sound, all awkward glances and uncertainty.
    "You, uh... seem okay. I guess." Her words sounded apologetic and the accompanied shrug of dismissal only added weight to the implication.
    Taking a hesitant few steps forward to close the gap between them, it is revealed that the girl was a good foot or so shorter than her male counterpart and that was only if you counted the good inch or so of messy half-bun half-ponytail sticking out atop her head.

    Her clothes, consisting mainly of jeans, sneakers and a hoodie over what seemed like multiple layers of shirts, seemed a bit rugged, tattered even, but still in functioning condition. A messenger backpack was slung over her shoulder and what appeared to be a slim lead pipe was held loosely in her left hand.

    If she'd received any sort of alarmed or wayward glance to her appearance, she paid it no mind, pausing only to push the center of thick black glasses up along the bridge of her nose before she spoke again.

    "Did you come here looking for food?" Gesturing to his selection with a nod of her head, the red haired girl scoffed,
    "Where are you gonna stash all that stuff? Don't tell me you've been hiding out in the same spot. It's better to keep moving, y'know! That's what everyone keeps telling me anyway."
    The redhead gave another noncommittal shrug and glanced around, her eyes anxiously searching her surroundings as if looking for something.
    Last edited by MabFaerie; 08-06-2014, 03:27 PM.


    • #3
      "You... what? How? Ah, whatever. Hiding? Moving? Huh?"
      Dumbfounded by the new... customer, her words didn't register properly with me and the staple-up-down-once-over revealed only one thing: She didn't cleaned up in a longer time that was comfortable for most.
      "From which warmovie did you escape anyway?"
      pronounced pitsamæn ~ my dreams of future ended years ago. ~ And remember, "outside" is where the pizzaman lurks


      • #4
        For a moment the redhaired girl looked puzzled, annoyed even.
        What was this guy getting at? It seemed like he had no idea what was going on. Could that even be possible? It wasn't as if he was some elderly shut-in or a homeless street urchin. He had no excuse for his bewilderment unless he was of the mentally ill sort, the kind that wouldn't understand the world tumbling down around them until they were knee-deep in chaos.

        This thought, however unfounded, seemed to make the redhaired girl a bit more anxious, gripping her pipe just a bit tighter than before.

        When he asked her which war-movie she'd escaped from, she had to suppress a laugh,
        "From this one." she replied, in jest, waving her free hand in gesture to their surroundings.
        "Don't tell me you haven't noticed how desolate this place looks. What, did you think everyone went on Holiday?" Behind the sarcasm and bitter laughter, faint traces of fear seemed to find their way into her words, lacing them with just enough shake to show through her bravado.

        "This shop is kinda out of the way. You probably won't find too many stragglers or looters here. They hit the bigger, nicer places downtown first." Still talking as if this stranger was following along, the redhaired absentmindedly ran her hand along a nearby shelf, snatching up a small box of some kind of sweet snack and shoving it into her backpack.

        "The name's Nyx, by the way. What's yours?"


        • #5
          For a moment, an uncomfortable silence hang in the air as the early thirtysomething still wouldn't have anything of it, thinking he was being punked. The thought of late teens/early twens running around like a washed up tramp didn't sit well with him,
          but if she's a hired actor, they did a pretty good job on her. Between her flitting movements, the expression of a nervously scared and chased cat in her eyes and that tiny note of suppressed anxiety in her voice that should be impossible or at least illegal to fake, he feels the fear starting to file away at it's cage in his soul.

          "For a starter, this..." he made a pause and spread the arms to emphase the point, "shanty always looks like this. That's what you get when you keep some of the most lazy and incompetent asses after the third hostile chain take over. And for a suburbian desert where every dely store closes one after another from the pressure of five large-chain discounters with up to three branch shops within town, this peddler is pretty nice. If you like fresh food that you consume within a few days. Well, maybe not today..."
          Realizing the question asked, he answered, "Name's Ron. People on- and offline keep calling me Ton, though" and scratched his unruly goatee with his left hand. Before dropping it again, he softly touched his hand half absent mindedly staring down the isle and half emberassedly sniffing to his more or less slightly swollen stomach. He didn't notice any change in her expression peeking at her, but hoped she picked up on his running gag and didn't think anything less of him cause of it. As if that was possible. His dome shaved, yet missing stubble on the top from the natural loss of hair, seemed to darken for half a second from a fleeting blush.
          Despite all his misfortune he got a lucky nature ticket with a rather athletic build, but between a severe lack of excercise and the almost mortal lack of drive to change it and the junk he ate, there was just not any helping it.

          He pondered if he should extent his hand for a greeting, started to but reached for the secret stash the personal kept for their closest friends (which didn't include him) instead.
          Removing the cover from the back of the isle, he pulled the three remaining deluxe wondergalaxy cookie invaders packages out, dropping two in his cart and holding the third one out to her.

          "Best selling thing around here, despite the prize. The name's stupid and some people are put off by the fizzpowder spiked caramel inside" - a grin opens on his face - "but only at first, then most of them are conquered, too" he adds with a wink.
          Last edited by pizzaman; 08-09-2014, 11:16 PM.
          pronounced pitsamæn ~ my dreams of future ended years ago. ~ And remember, "outside" is where the pizzaman lurks


          • #6
            Accepting the small, unfamiliar wrapping, Nyx turned it over in her hands, reading the ridiculously large branding and resisting the urge to roll her eyes at the comical font.
            Offering Ton a half-smile, Nyx tucked the cookie-snack into her backpack with a small murmur of thanks.

            Without missing a beat, she continued, "So then... am I correct in assuming you think this is just a case of gentrification closing up shop everywhere?" Her brow furrowed and her worried demeanor seemed to increase exponentially.

            "Look, let me just be straight with you, okay? This isn't a very big community to begin with but, all of a sudden people starting packing up and moving out as fast as they could. It felt like it happened overnight even though realistically it was probably more like a few weeks time." Nervously, Nyx began twisting the hem of her hoodie into half knots, tugging the fabric taut and releasing it into a wrinkled state.

            "I mean, at first I didn't care, y'know? It was just the rich assholes anyway. The people with more money than they deserve and more attitude than I could stand. They all started packing up, looking shifty and secretive, like they knew something I didn't. Like they were above me for it." Nyx laughed weakly, feeling quite as if she'd become the butt of a joke somehow.

            "I'm so stupid." She winced, a fleeting expression of pain on her face before a shake of her head pushed it away.
            "My brother said 'Let them go, we'll be better off without'. So I didn't think twice... But then more and more people started leaving. I heard whispers of something coming this way. I thought they meant a hurricane or a tornado, but I hadn't heard anything on the news about that." Releasing the fabric of her now twice-as-wrinkled hoodie, Nyx balled her free hand into a fist, anger flashing across her face.

            "It wasn't until there just barely a quarter of townspeople left that I realized everyone had bailed on us! The poor. The weak. The forgotten. We were just left here. Left here to rot! And I don't even know why!" Her fist lashed out, punching a nearby display and breaking a small hole into the thin cardboard.

            "Everyone's gone. Almost everyone, anyway. Except the thugs, the maggots and the vermin. And people like you and me. Left to fend for ourselves." Relaxing her fists, Nyx noticed a small scratch on her knuckles from punching the display, it stung a bit but was otherwise no issue.

            "You don't have to believe me. Hell, if I didn't know better, I wouldn't believe me either. But don't say I didn't warn you. And for gods sake, get a weapon. The thugs will tear you apart if they think they stand half a chance."


            • #7
              "Cute. I think you're the first woman worrying about me since mom and grandma. However... Just take my word for it, I am armed."
              He was almost interrupted by a faint siren coming from his pocket. "Moo?"
              Warning: Reception dropping. Zero connectivity a female computervoice crowed when he acknowledged his cellphone's alarm.

              He spend the better quarter of a minute swiping and thumping on his screen while Nyx grew ever more restless, until
              KACHUNK the lights went out and, illuminated by his gadget, Ton's face almost resembled an emoji.

              "If you're true, and this isnt some form of punk'd or hidden camera, I'll take my leave now. If it is, though - be warned. I am armed and you better tell me now or someone's going to need an ambulance. Or worse."

              In the darkness of the deserted superstore, Ton was still illuminated by the faint glow of the display in his chest pocket and Nyx could tell he was pulling something from the inside of his jacket, putting it over his eyes. A whine growing rapidly higher in pitch gave away the tool before the glow canceled out from the cell's sleeping function.
              pronounced pitsamæn ~ my dreams of future ended years ago. ~ And remember, "outside" is where the pizzaman lurks


              • #8
                "And if you're not careful, I very well may be the last." Nyx's concerned expression was quickly replaced with one of disinterest. This fellow seemed twitchy, a liability, too trigger-happy for someone who probably didn't actually have any proper weapon experience, cardboard cutouts at a shooting range hardly counted when people so seldom stood as still.

                "Certainly took the lights long enough to go off." Nyx grumbled as the store was plunged into semi-darkness. Emergency lights flickered here and there, the bulbs giving off a faint, waning glow, if any glow at all. It was obvious that they hadn't been replaced or seen any form of maintenance in a while. The thought worried Nyx as she contemplated the risk of navigating the store in the dark for more supplies or just leaving while she had a head start.

                "I don't think an ambulance will come. You're welcome to try though." Nyx replied coolly, taking a step back and snatching another handful of foodstuffs off a shelf, shoving the contents in her bag with ease.
                Like clockwork, the sound of footsteps, some fast, some sluggish, sounded a ways off. The building was just silent enough to project the echo their way, giving Nyx a clear heads up to trouble on the way.

                "Right then, that's my cue. I'm out of here. Be careful, yeah? Don't get yourself killed on the way out." With a dismissive wave, Nyx started off opposite of the way she came, towards the exit doors that were now stuck in the ON position due to the power outage, her weapon up and ready should anyone decide to pop out unexpectedly.


                • #9
                  Ton watched as Nyx made her exit until she turned around the next aisle, and noticed a kind of rotten smell wafting in from the direction Nyx went.
                  "No way, that stench cant be her, dispite her get up. Heh. Probably some garbage Truck or whatever they parked out there. I don't hear any fans, though. Whatever. I'm still missing..." before he could end that train of thought, someone sneaked into the corner of his DIY-nightvision enhanced eye. Turning around, he also noticed the stench becoming stronger.
                  Remembering Nyx story about... something and weird people, he just stood there, trying to judge if the new arrival is another actor or just some sick hobo stinking like he spend the last three month in a garbage compactor.
                  When the person noticed him and directly looked at him, ton had to do a doubletake and stepped back, as half his...or her face was missing. Including an empty eye socket.
                  Ton tried to make out give-away marks of a mask and makeup, while his flight-or-fight instinct still debated with itself, ultimately coming down with a draw between the options despite several rounds of rock paper scissors, at least until more input was provided.
                  In the few seconds this took, Ton stood like a pillar of salt, giving the human form in front of him time to shuffle closer.
                  Just when... it was in range to regard him with a unhuman mixture of a groan and a long drawn hiss, Ton was hit by it's breath.
                  The smell, somewhere between rotting fish and festering carrion on hot tarmack, broke Ton out of his stupor and he jumped back 3 steps, crashing into the shelf behind him and pushing it over.
                  With the power induced by roughly 100 gallons of adrenaline, he jumped onto the falling assembly and rolled over on the other side.
                  Running down the corridor and rounding the shelf at the end of it, he now stood behind the figure and noticed missing pieces of clothing and flesh, male privates visible through holes in his pants.

                  "I think this isnt going to be aired on TV" he thought. But he had to make sure.
                  He addressed the man showing his back to him: "Hey, you, I am armed. If you come at me again, I will hurt and possibly kill you!"
                  The supposed walking corpse was leaning against the tumbled shelf, obviously trying to clamber over it but failing gloriously, and turned around - regarding Ton with a longing in his one eye only a starving presented with a bacon cake and extra icing can express.
                  Drool running out of his ruined stench hole of a mouth, he picked up his path towards the presumed, fatty meal.
                  Ton still wouldn't want to face a lawsuit for killing someone in thought self defense, so he pointed at his oponent and exclaimed: "This is no joke. If you don't stop this and explain yourself, I will use violence!"
                  Then the body snapped after his finger, almost tumbling into Ton, who stepped back yet again, wound up his right, pressed a button on his jacket and hit the attacker square in the chest once, as hard as he could.
                  Not even a split second later a hard klicking was heard as the ring of weight running around his arm reinforced the hit and struck the assailant hard enough to send "him" flying while the breaking of bones and tearing of flesh was audible.
                  Despite nearly landing in Ton's cart, he was only worried he just royally ruined someone's workday and already imagined the lawsuit in the back of his mind and if the show's insurance would cover death in the line of work for their members.
                  This makes the surprise he felt at seeing it trying to get back on its feet more or less silent understandable, especialy considering the gaping depression in its chest, depecting at least a disconnected sternum and hinting at ruptured lungs.
                  "NO WAY YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET UP LIKE THIS!" he shouted, losing all composure and drawing his less-than-legal telescop baton from its holster on his back, extending it and cracking the walker right over its skull for all he was worth before the shambler could get up and pose more danger.

                  The bone gave way, relieving the undead from it's unnatural animation and letting it drop to the floor in a puddle of what should have been a brain.

                  Now painfully aware of several groanings coming his way, Ton grabbed his cart and started in a beeline for the exit, prepared to push over any and everyone getting in his way to reach his car before the shock he felt creeping up could set in.
                  Last edited by pizzaman; 08-22-2014, 10:25 AM.
                  pronounced pitsamæn ~ my dreams of future ended years ago. ~ And remember, "outside" is where the pizzaman lurks


                  • #10
                    As if the obvious shambling and groaning weren't warning enough, the top-of-the-lungs exclamation of "NO WAY YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET UP LIKE THIS!" made it all the more obvious to Nyx that Ton had run into some trouble.
                    "I told him to be careful..." She hissed under her breath, "Now the whole gang probably know's his location. I bet it's a bunch of looters too, likely out to raid the place. They could stand to be a tad more organized, and quieter while they're at it. Noisy idiots, the lot of them."

                    Having gotten halfway out the door, it was then that Nyx ran into trouble of her own.
                    A breathy, guttural growl sounded to her right, low and vicious. Nyx barely had time to think before a figure launched itself at her.
                    Instinctively, she swung her pipe, colliding it with the figures head and dropping him to the ground in one swift singular motion.
                    It twitched, jerky and uneven, before motioning itself into a half standing position.

                    "Had enough?" She asked, assuming it was a gang-banger who likely had a concussion at that point.
                    It's only reply was more groaning and hissing accompanied by odd, clockwork motions. It lifted its head to glare at her, revealing a half sunken skull and bare teeth where the flesh had been torn away.

                    Shocked, her breath caught in her throat. Without thinking, she raised the pipe again, bringing it down once, twice, three times, smashing the monsters head clean in.
                    Trembling, she looked to her right, finding that the commotion had brought yet another odd, jerky human-like-thing her way.
                    Flanking it a few feet behind were two others, looking just as awful as the rest. Before she could contemplate taking them out, a few more shambled into view, behind them were more and Nyx got the distinct feeling that more would follow.
                    This was bad. Very, very bad.

                    Nyx got the distinct feeling that maybe these weren't just thugs after all. It wasn't as if any kind of drug, Bath Salts or something else, could have cause this kind of skin corrosion. Madness, sure, mania and attacking citizens, probably, but skin decay? That didn't fit the bill. Could it be a combination of drugs gone wrong?

                    Ducking back into the store, Nyx darted towards Ton and continued past him, shouting back his way.
                    "Hey, we need to get out of here! NOW! Meet me at the back route." Not wasting a moment, Nyx covered the span of the store in under a minute, finding herself at the opposite end, searching for the emergency exit between aisles.
                    Finally, her eyes leveled onto the bright red EXIT sign, knowing it was their only way out, IF it wasn't flooded with those things as well.


                    • #11
                      Barely registering the woman running past here on his way out, but registering the things shambling towards him so much harder, he barely managed to turn around without spilling his catch over the freaks.
                      Running two or three human shapes over with his cart he managed to catch up with her just as she unlocked the emergency door, wheezed "Parkinglot. electric Car" and ran past her.
                      pronounced pitsamæn ~ my dreams of future ended years ago. ~ And remember, "outside" is where the pizzaman lurks


                      • #12
                        Slamming the door shut behind him, Nyx scrambled towards a nearby wheeled-dumpster, struggled with it for a moment before getting it rolling and pushed it in front of the door, sealing off the exit. Silently, she prayed it would buy them enough time to get in the car and get the fuck out of sight.

                        Although Ton got the head start, Nyx's lithe frame still allowed her to meet him on the passengers side of the vehicle same time as he came round to the drivers, somehow having managed to shove his unbagged groceries into the backseat in little under a minute.
                        The following three seconds it took for him to unlock the passengers door were the most panic-inducing moments of her life, but once it was open, Nyx wasted no time scrambling inside and slamming the door shut, jamming the palm of her hand down on the door-lock and clicking her seatbelt into place while anxiously signaling Ton to hurry the fuck up when it came to getting the car started.

                        As the machine hummed to life and they skid out of the lot and down the street, Nyx exhaled on a terrified, adrenaline-rushed sigh.
                        "Electric car, huh? Really? I'd have never guessed." She teased him, but didn't feel calm enough to laugh at her own joke, barely offering him a half-smirk as her trembling slowly came to a still.

                        After a long moment of silence accompanied by the scenery of one empty street after another, Nyx turned back to Ton.
                        "What the hell were those things?" She murmured, half to herself but still loud enough for him to hear.
                        "They weren't... people, were they? Just, crazed out of their minds and hopped up on drugs? Why were there so many of them? Did we stumble into a drug den or something? I don't get it..." She trailed off, lowering her head, staring at her lap while her mind wandered off, trying to make sense of it all.


                        • #13
                          Barely lucid, Ton's subconciousness took over yet again just when they turned off the parking space and down the first street off the crossing.
                          He was no sleepwalker but lucky enough to have a strong mind that could function while the "higher" parts of his personality were not actively processing input.
                          Being pulled out of his open eyed half slumber by her murmuring over the electric motor whirring, he feeled refreshed enough to wipe away the fear of breaking down while driving.
                          Smirking a bit, he thought a few words of thanks to himself and made sure she hadn't noticed anything of him being more than... absent minded.
                          Almost whispering, he said "I'm no doctor, and no priest, but didn't you notice the smell? That was decay. When I found my great grandfather years ago he smelled the same, just after a few hours of being lifeless. And some of these... corpses resembled personal working there. Others I know I saw at a homeless shelter. They helped out now and then, for beer and a schnitzel. But where were they all the time I was in there? Even if they tried taking shelter somewhere in the shop, it's all lock and key doors. I took the to...Oooh... the storage on the backside. Figures I didn't notice. And those who survived, fled the area. Crap."
                          Nyx, watching him, snapped her eyes back on the street while Ton slowed down and gently evaded a couple of figures standing scattered around on the street.
                          "I guess I shouldn't drive home directly, lest I'll have uninvited guests. With a capital Z."

                          He did let that hang in the air.
                          Last edited by pizzaman; 08-28-2014, 12:25 PM.
                          pronounced pitsamæn ~ my dreams of future ended years ago. ~ And remember, "outside" is where the pizzaman lurks


                          • #14
                            "Where do we go then? If we can't go home?" Nyx shook her head, twisting the hem of her shirt into knots out of fear and anxiety.
                            "Do we just keep driving til we put enough distance between us all? Will that be enough?" A million thoughts ran through her head as Nyx attempted to sort out the mess she'd found herself in.

                            "What if they're everywhere? Do we leave town? And for that matter, is there anyone who might be looking for you? Anyone who could be putting themselves in danger to see where you'd gone off to? If so, we should probably gather them first, if you think we can."

                            Nyx cycled through her own list of friends and relatives. So many of them felt like distant memories now. The lot had moved away when she was a young girl, if she'd even ever known them to begin with. What stragglers remained had fled the city, taking her cousins and distant relatives with them. When things got bad, but before they got worse, all she had was her brother... and now even he was gone.

                            If there was anything to be said for her current situation, it was that she'd lost too much long before the chaos began, and that a girl with nothing left to lose either stood to forfeit her life, or survive against all odds. She hoped for the latter.