Game 3: On the way home…
Watch out!” Lisa shouted as another shambling form was caught in brake lights, a yellow and red outline of staggering humanity.
The van screeched its tires as the driver careened around the form, avoiding it by briefly rolling into someone’s yard and returning to the street with a noticeable thump.
“I saw him, er…it.” Kaylee said with a thin veneer of confidence over a high-pitched voice. I just figured it wouldn’t make it so far across the road before we passed is all.”
“Ow.” Michael stated in a strangely calm voice, while pulling himself off the boxes of groceries that took up most of the center floor of the van. “Whatever you did Kaylee, please don’t do it again?”
“Look, you want to drive?” she snarled, turning to look in the back seat, and taking her eyes off the highway ahead. Before Michael could reply Lisa snapped, “Keep your eyes on the road, please!”
Kaylee turned around and grumbled over the steering wheel. “You can drive too Lizzie if you don’t like my driving! What do either of you care anyhow? It’s not your van.”
“Um…. because we’re riding in it?” Michael offered, with only a little of his usual sarcasm in the statement. He rubbed his sore back and continued “Not to mention we’re not even supposed to be here! On the streets that is.” He leaned over and tried to take a reasonable tone. “Besides, with this weird plague going around I’m not sure how long it would take an ambulance to make it to us.”
Lisa finished the thought. “Plus, what if those people made it to us before the EMTs did?”
The blonde woman shuddered and replied “Ok, ok, ok. But we don’t want to keep at a crawl either do we?”
“You’re right on that.” Michael remarked while moving to hunch between the two girls in the front of the van. “Go ahead and turn the headlights on. We’re well within the subdivision at this point and I can’t see police lurking around here when there’s more important stuff going on downtown.” He glanced through the windshield, squinting to see through the rain plummeting onto the glass. “Heck, with this crap coming down we could hit someone normal, and we REALLY don’t want that on our conscience. I don’t, anyway.”
As one the two girls nodded, and Kaylee flicked on the lights. The twin white beams cut through the night and rain, illuminating about 20 feet in front of the vehicle. ‘Not great’ Michael thought, ‘but it sure beats two feet of visibility!’
As the van turned a corner, a small figure barreled across one of the lawns and waved frantically at the vehicle. “Huh?” Kaylee said, automatically slowing down the van.
“It’s a little girl.” Lisa said, leaning over Kaylee to better see out the driver’s window. “She’s moving fast, and isn’t infected.”
“How can you be sure?” The driver remarked with uncertainty in her voice. But she slowed the van and cracked the window open an inch to talk with the child.
“Please!” gasped the girl, a brown haired kid of about 8 years old. “You’ve got to help my Mommy and Daddy!” Despite the rain, the child was only wearing pajamas and was barefoot. Yet she seemed not to notice in her anxiety and fear.
“What’s wrong with them?” Kaylee asked, her suspicion giving way slowly to concern. “Are they infected with the, whatever, that’s been going around?”
The girl blinked, and stared at the blonde girl with confusion. “Infecitd? No, daddy’s just sick. Mommy tried to help him but he’s chasing her in the house. Jilly’s back there too, I don’t know where. Please? Help us?”
Michael thought getting involved was a mistake. They needed to get home, get this food in the house and see about reinforcing the place. Despite a flood of reasons why they should just move on home careening through his mind, he heard his own voice say “Yeah, we’ll help. First, get inside here so it’s safe.”
She looked uncertainly at the van. “Mommy said we’re not supposed to get in cars with strangers.”
“We’re not strangers.” Lisa said over Kaylee’s shoulder in a calm and reassuring tone. “We’re going to help you. Strangers don’t do that do they? I’m Lisa, this is Kaylee and Michael is back there. What’s your name?”
“ummm, Maggie.” She said slowly, her hair now plastered to her scalp thanks to the torrent of rain.
“Ok, hello Maggie! We’re not strangers anymore.” Lisa smiled and gestured to the side door of the van. “Now come in out of the rain and tell us what’s going on.”
* * *
With a metallic slam, the van door closed and Michael walked around to the curb. Kaylee was already out and handing her keys to Lisa. The brunette now sat in the driver’s seat and was helping Maggie put on a seat belt in the passenger side of the van.
“Ok, the gas pedal sticks a little in this thing, so punch it whenever you’re going to put on the gas.” The blond girl instructed Lisa. However, she seemed to only be half listening, looking with concern at Michael. “Are you sure you’ll be ok, Mike?”
“Yeah, no big deal.” He tried to sound confident, but imagined Lisa wouldn’t be fooled. “Seriously, if the father is a zomb…er, sick…” He looked uncomfortably at the little girl, but she seemed not to be listening. “…we can just grab her mom and the sister and get out here.”
“If we can.” Kaylee looked across the yard at the open door of the house. The rain wasn’t as loud anymore, but no sounds or movement could be seen from the house and yard. “That house doesn’t look very big, so maybe we can just run in and run out.”
Michael nodded. “That’s the plan. If we have to spend more than 20 minutes looking then odds are they’re not even in the house anymore.” He winked at Lisa and tried his reassuring smile . ‘Maybe it would even work this time!’ he thought to himself.
“If some of those weirdoes show up, just circle the block,” he continued. “They’re not so bright so if you can lead them away and zip back here we shouldn’t have to stay in the yard very long for a pickup.”
“Uh huh…” Lisa muttered. “We’ll try and stay safe. You do the same. Both of you!”
Michael and Kaylee nodded and turned toward the house. He cycled a round into the barrel of the M1 Carbine, and the blonde made an experimental swing of her bat.
“No prob!” Kaylee said brightly, her mood apparently unbowed by the darkness and rain. “This will be a piece of cake!”
Game 3: On the way home
Scenario: This scenario is from the Two Hour Wargames scenario book for ATZ, Haven. This was originally designed for two police officers responding to a 911 call, but I modified it to use with our merry trio. The only changes were:
*1. The older of the two children (Maggie) will flag down the survivor’s van, thus already attaining one of the scenario goals. A bit of a cheat, but I couldn’t figure out another way to fix this.
*2. I changed the layout of the house to the one in the photo. The first one looked really odd, and I wanted something that I could use my Dwarven Forge in. You’ll also note the very back of the house is stonework…I ran out of wood DF parts!
*3. Unlike the original scenario, I’m allowing zombies to be generated outside the house since Lisa is staying in the van. I imagine this will more than balance getting Maggie as a freebie in turn 1.
Otherwise, the scenario runs as stated.
Time: It is about 3 am, and there is a rainstorm reducing visibility to 9 inches.
* * *
Michael approached the doorway with his carbine at waist height, so as to aim it towards whatever his body was facing. Or that’s what they said on the Military Channel anyway. Kaylee was behind him, her earlier bravado giving way to fear. Staying only one step behind Michael, her white-knuckled grip on her bat revealed her tension.
The door was almost completely open, no doubt swung by little Maggie as she rushed out of the house. There were lights on inside but no one in view.
Leaning against the doorjamb, the man raised his weapon to first cover the kitchen open area and then the doorless entry to a hallway. Again, nothing could be seen or heard.
“This is weird.” The blonde woman behind him whispered. “Where is everyone? Do you think the kid was just out of it, thinking there was a problem?”
“Dunno, but I doubt it.” Michael replied. “Stay here and watch the hallway while I check out the kitchen. Yell if you see anyone.”
Kaylee flexed her grip on the baseball bat. “Oh I will, don’t you worry. You’ll know as soon as I do.”
‘So will half the neighborhood’ he thought to himself as he slowly creeped toward the kitchen. Kaylee seemed like a decent enough girl, but they’d only known her for half an hour. She also was a bit bossy and seemed to have a chip on her shoulder. ‘I just hope that doesn’t get her killed. Or us, for that matter.’
With that cheery thought he made his way into the kitchen. It was empty of people, though he did notice a drawer on the floor. Apparently it was a knife drawer, as several were lying scattered about. He also noticed some smeared blood on the floor and refrigerator. Not a lot, but enough to make his skin crawl.
‘Is this the mother’s? The possibly zombified father’s? The kid’s?’ The thoughts made Michael’s flesh creep. Maggie was untouched, so it had to be one of the three. Could it have been a wound on the zombie? Or did someone get bitten? Shaking out of this train of thought, he turned and gave Kaylee a silent “OK” sign and moved to the hallway. Kaylee started to follow, but Michael gestured for her to close the door first. She did, and returned to him with a questioning look.
He whispered, “We don’t want anything coming up behind us, do we?”
“Oh, right.” She blanched and nodded vigorously.
He gestured to the right hallway, which ended at a window with a door on the right. “That looks like a bedroom, go check it out.”
The blonde began to look mulish. “Why me? You’ve got the gun!”
“Because…” Michael sighed, trying to keep their conversation to a whisper. “Because it’s likely not the Master bedroom, it’s too small. So, it’s probably one or both of the little girls’ bedrooms. And I think a little kid is more likely to respond well to someone with a bat than a stranger with a gun.”
“Uh huh…” She whispered in a cynical tone. “And this wouldn’t have anything to do with me being a woman would it?”
Michael shrugged, “Frankly? Yes, and if you get over the non-existent sexist comment and think about this logically you’ll see that it’s a better idea.”
Kaylee grumbled to herself, but moved toward the bedroom door. Michael rolled his eyes heavenward and muttered in return. This was going to get real old, real quick if he had to explain every little thing to her before she’d help.
He continued to look down the hallway to the left, which seemed to open up in a den or something. Lights were still on, but no one was in evidence. Weird…
* * *
Survivors automatically gain activation. Rolling on the ‘”What’s inside?” table that is part of the scenario special rules we get a 5 which is indicating door is open and the survivors can see into living room.
Kaylee stays at exterior doorway to keep watch while Michael checks out adjoining kitchen for bad guys.
Reading the kitchen description in the Haven book, Michael would see various kitchen drawers open, and knives on floor along with bloodstains. Nothing else.
Survivors: 4 “Opposition”: 3
(Until we encounter a zombie or NPC I’m lumping all activations under “Opposition”.)
Kaylee pokes her head into a nearby bedroom while Michael covers her from inside the hallway.
Kaylee makes her In Sight test (passes 2d6) and discovers a little girl named Jilly (5 years old) hiding underneath her bed. The only bed miniature I had was of a mimic, so please ignore the fanged mouth on the top of the bed! Maybe it’s a novelty comforter?
End Part 1