June 7th, 2008
The Fools fell silent as they stared at T.Rex, waiting for an answer.
"Alright," he began. "Let me explain a few things. When I first figured out there was a zombie infestation, I didn't know how far or how fast it would - still might - spread. And believe you me, the first thing I wanted to do is to grab my girlfriend and protect my family and friends.
"Unfortunately, I'm stuck here. I don't have a car. I don't have any way of fixing this, and rampaging across campus on foot, with the number of creatures out there is only gonna get me killed, or worse. I would be doing nobody any good as one of them. That's why we have the plan! To act calmly, rationally, and minimize our risks in a smart way.
"I knew that I couldn't get off campus quick enough, and the roads are probably clogged by now anyway, full of people fleeing the campus trying to escape what they can't comprehend. Some of you have cars, I know, but they're gonna do more harm than good. Everybody here was on campus, which is why I had Beard call you, which is why you were instructed to notify everybody you could as you assembled, even if they didn't believe you. Plus, Beard has been trying to contact the authorities at regular intervals, to no avail.
"The whole point of the plan is to set up this very fortress," he said, punctuating his words by stamping his feet, "so that we might survive to help others. Together, as a team, we have a much better chance of survival than just running around moment to moment trying to be heroes. Right?"
The Fools looked somberly at each other before nodding. There were a few muttered replies.
Ryan continued. "And do you really think I'd leave my girlfriend to fend for herself as the zombpocalypse rages on? Here's the deal - Jenny is safe at Hillenbrand, safer than we are here. Remember, I've worked there for the past two summers, so I have a pretty good idea of what's gonna happen over there. The conference for her hall was canceled, so her building is empty. She should be fine. Have some faith in the plan, okay?"
The collective tension on the room dissipated slowly as a wave of semi-relief washed over the Fools. Ryan had them go back to work on their morning tasks and joined the inventory crew.
It was slow, tedious work, and Ryan had plenty of time to mull over his numerous thoughts.
I wonder how many of them bought that, he pondered. I think they went along with it because I'm in charge, but I couldn't let them just worry about everything like that indefinitely. If they keep dwelling on the family and friends they might not be able to save, this could easily fall apart. It sucks, but we have to keep our thoughts focused on the here and now. I only called the Fools together that I knew were here, but I really wish we could get in touch with somebody, anybody on the outside. Some backup Foolish help sure would be great.
He continued stacking equipment and shuffling bags between rooms, making small talk to Kamikaze, Rubble, and Angel Hair as they cataloged the few remaining items.
T.Rex felt as though he was trying convince himself of his own decisions. Every hour that passed he felt less sure of his commands, his plan, and even leaving Jenny at Hillenbrand felt very wrong. Intellectually, he thought it was best to continue in this manner, but in his heart he felt a very protective urge.
No matter, he thought. Things will change soon enough.
Finally, by late afternoon, the group had finished cataloging and organizing all of the supplies they'd managed to gather before committing to the upstairs apartment. He called the Fools once more into the living room for a meeting, making sure the attic crew had a mandatory water break.
Once assembled, he opened up an important but delicate conversation. "Fools, we need to talk about something. It's not going to be pleasant, but it has to be said.
"The threat of infection by zombie is very real. There may come a day in the future when we have to leave our fortress and face the living dead on our own, and if you come in contact with them, it only takes a single scratch or bite to start the process that turns you into one of them."
Beard spoke up next. "Listen, if one of those fuckers gets a grip on you, you're pretty much toast. So stay alert and stay away. Attack from range, don't draw attention to yourself. If you do find yourself in a close-quarters situation, use a stick or a chair, anything, to keep them at bay. Watch your back and don't get cornered." He sighed. "Look, if one of you guys gets infected, I will make sure you are taken care of, no ifs, ands, or buts."
There was grim silence as the group looked at each other.
"I think what Beard is trying to say," Ryan said, "is that if I get infected in any way, I want any of you to kill me without hesitation. I'm telling you this now because that's what I expect of you, and that's the same thing you should and can expect from me. Got it?"
Everybody nodded. Ryan had everybody take a few minutes break to think things over, to make sure that sunk in.
"Alright, attic crew, see what more you can get before sunset," Ryan said. They slowly walked out of the living room to what was undoubtedly uncomfortable work. "The rest of you, I want you to start organizing individual equipment piles for each person. We're gonna get all this gear together for each Fool and put them into backpacks and duffels to be kept with them at all times, so that everybody has what they need in case of an emergency.
"Each pile should include a primary and secondary weapon with the appropriate gear, like ammo and scopes. Each person gets water and rations to be saved for emergencies only, so make sure they're well sealed, quiet, and sturdy. We'll divide up the other gear on a case by case basis, with emphasis on matching equipment to skills, weight considerations, and redundancy amongst the group."
He quickly scanned over the master inventory list.
-1 hunting rifle with 80 rounds ammunition
-1 handgun with 45 rounds
-2 pairs of binoculars
- 7 cellular phones
- 3 complete first aid kits
- 6 sleeping bags
- Peace's lockpicking kit
- rope, garbage bags, duct tape, a few large tarps
- 6 flashlights
- buckets, milk 1 gallon containers, a few tupperware pieces
- 1 15 foot ladder
- several furniture items, stair planks
- blankets, towels, and a few changes of clothes
- Brant's longbow with 30 arrows
- matches, batteries
- a toolbox full of hand tools (hand saw, hammer, screwdriver, nails, etc.)
- baseball bat, a lamp, two crowbars
- 2 hatchets, a machete, and 2 full sets of kitchen knives, ski poles
- 4 pool cues
- several bottles of alcohol
- 4 cases of bottled water, several cases of soda
- 4 large trash bags full of non-perishable food items
- a spice rack, and several bottles of painkillers and drugs
- grooming kit, mirror
- a map of Purdue and surrounding areas
It was surprising how many things they'd gathered on such short notice, Ryan noted. Only time would tell if it was enough.
Current Word Count: 16,229