Main Objective Stories
M01 – X Weeks of Darkness
This place is as dead as the things that hunt us. When we formed the colony here, we thought we could live off the town for years. But we misjudged what this place had to offer. I can only assume it's been hit by other survivors and much of the goods and supplies we should have been able to find are in short supply. Canned goods, ammunition, fuel… everything we need is in conspicuously small quantities.
We need to move on, but it's just too cold. So we wait, praying for the weather to let up so we can get the convoy rolling again, and start the miserable search all over again. It seems like each time I'm ready to eat a bullet, a new crisis appears, and suddenly I'm fighting as if living is the only thing that matters.
M02 – Kill Them
I refused to believe it at first, but the proof is there for everyone to see. Twenty four hours has passed and Mel still hasn't risen. Sure the bites killed him, but they were grotesquely severe. What's important is they lacked the juice to bring him back. Optimism is raging through the colony like fire in a dry forest. We were already wondering why the ranks of the dead seemed to be thinning. Could our wildest hopes have come to pass?
Has whatever force that animated the corpses finally left or died off? Should this be true, it changes everything. If we can only kill those dead that shamble through the town and around our walls, we might be able to spend the rest of our lives in peace. Finally! I'm not afraid to die fighting, but I don't want to die and become the very enemy I fought.
M03 – Find a Cure
I sit here in silent shock. Could the answer be so simple? Has our great species been brought to the edge of extinction by a mutation of one of its simplest and oldest viruses? If there are gods, surely they are laughing at us now. Or at least they laughed at each moment in my life when I failed to wash my hands. But what next? I need a better lab. And supplies. I need to rally the others and have them bring me everything they can. At the very least I think I can immunize us, but even better, I think I might be able to eradicate this plague in one fell airborne swoop.
I think back to that summer when I, drunk on youth and love, considered staying in Italy and saying to hell with finishing med school. How horrifying to think that a cheating Italian boyfriend may have been a critical factor in ending the greatest catastrophe to mankind!
M04 – Home Sweet Home
All of our hard work has rewarded us more than I could have hoped. Yesterday this was a refugee camp, and today it's an honest-to-God town. When people call it the Colony, there's no bitter irony in their voices, and that speaks volumes. Only problem is, all of our hard work has brought down a swarm of the dead upon us. Each day brings new invaders to our walls, and they wander the streets in town waiting for a living morsel to present itself.
If we can just figure out a way to kill this swarm, build up our defenses and hopefully stop attracting more of them. Sure, we'll probably be dealing with stragglers for the rest of our days, but anything would be better than the horde we're dealing with now.
M05 – Raiding Party
Winter will be upon us before we know it, and we don't want to be here when it arrives. The town doesn't seem to have been looted much – they must have been hit hard. We'll set up a camp here, then hunker down and see what we can find. We'll need to move quickly, and not just because of the weather. The dead seem to have caught wind of our presence, and we see more and more each day.
If we lose people or waste supplies fighting those freaks off, then this whole raid will be for nothing. Our primary target for the search is fuel, but personally I'm hoping medical supplies are abundant. If I don't get this bite treated soon, someone's going to notice. Already I've got a light fever that won't go away, and once I start to sweat I just can't stop.
All I need is some antibiotics or something. I just know it. There's no way I'm going out like those other fools. I won't let it happen.
M06 – Leave it all Behind
It's us or them now. I hate that it's come this – I really do. But our species isn't going to survive without staring down some terrible and hard truths. There's a core group of us and then there are the tagalongs. The core group makes all the tough calls. It does all the hard work. The tagalongs seem to just be there to eat our food and complain about their inconveniences.
Screw them. I say when it's time to go we leave behind the bickering fools who think every decision deserves a debate and a vote. I say we ditch the moaners who don't appreciate the concept of a meritocracy. Of course they don't like that idea – they don't do anything. Well my mind is made up, and I know the others will agree. We just need to make sure we act quickly when the opportunity presents itself.
M07 – Stockpile
This morning I stood on the watchtower (I still can't believe the thing hasn't collapsed) and looked out at the town. I pretended I couldn't see the dead that staggered through the streets, and it seemed lovely to me. Fog was rising from the ground in ghostlike wisps, and the crisp air that filled my lungs felt magnificent. I don't want to leave this place. Winter will be hard, but I'm already dreaming of what spring will bring. Maybe I'm a fool to find inspiration in the season where the Earth seems to wither and die, but it's always felt like starting over to me.
Now is the time to hunker down and gather all the food we can. Now is when we build big walls our enemies cannot overcome. The snow shall melt and everything that's green will flourish and bloom again, and when it does, Spring shall find us not just alive but thriving.
M08 – Winter Has Come
We've been caught with our pants down just like I warned them. Anyone willing to keep their eyes open could have seen the warning signs. Early morning frosts. Rapidly changing weather. It was just a matter of time. Now winter is here and up to now we've only been concerning ourselves with food. The generators can keep us alive but they're useless without fuel. Yesterday one of the kids offered to drive into town to scavenge, and it was all I could do not to slap him. Drive? Doesn't that use fuel? Try walking – it will keep you warm at least. God help me, it's like the parable of the Ant and the Grasshopper, only in this scenario the ants will die right alongside their lazy companions.
M09 – Too Many Mouths
Is today Groundhog's Day? I can't remember anymore. Weird how hunger lets one dwell on such trivial thoughts. Shouldn't every brain cell be conserved right now? The canned goods ran out a week ago, and the grains followed soon after. The chickens are gone and so is the last of the venison. We're living off what scraps we find in town, but they aren't enough. I've never thought myself an evil man, but God help me, my thoughts are dark of late. I know I'm not the only one. There just isn't enough food to go around, and it's hard not to feel bitter when it has to be shared with people who don't pull their own weight.
These thoughts are wrong. I know that. It's no one's fault that the skills they possess belong to another world. Another time. Our intellectual capacity is what separates us from animals, yet when our most basic needs cannot be met, it's hard not think and act like animals.
M10 – We Need More Samples
As if the colony needed to smell even worse! Now we're storing corpses in the sheds where we once kept our plentiful food stores. God, what I wouldn't give to taste a carrot again. You-know-who has on her bossy boots once more. I didn't like doctors before the world ended, and I don't like them now. She says studying the bodies might help her identify how to stop the plague. Yeah, right. Better to spend time figuring out the quickest, cheapest way to commit suicide.
But whatever. Everyone else is excited to help, and maybe that's the real value of this little project. All this "research" will do is tell us what we already know – the dead come back and try to eat you. Whoopty-freakin'-do. Still, if Her Royal Highness does come up with a cure, I'd better be first in line to get it.
S11 – Gluttony Betrayal
Each morning I stand naked in front of the mirror and drink in the sight of my body. I've noted the leanness in the faces of the others or the visible ribs along their flanks. They eat enough to survive, but everyone is hungry, and though I cannot explain it, that fact excites me. Each night I uncover my secret hoard and just stare at it. Sometimes I sample these stolen morsels, but of course I can't eat too much or everyone will know. I revel in the thought that my belly is filled while everyone else's growls with hunger.
When I look in the mirror, I lovingly caress my flesh; joyously touching those parts of myself that look so plump and prosperous. I adore my love handles and the slight paunch I've been nurturing. Such a luxury, and I thrill that it comes at the expense of my neighbors. I have while they do not, and I find that achingly exquisite.
S12 – Runaway Betrayal
Dear friends, If you hadn't figured out I was missing, well, now you know. Words cannot express how terrible I feel about cutting out on you like this, but I hope you'll forgive me. I'd like to tell you my actions are governed by deeply held convictions or something, but really I'm just a coward. And I've been scared lately. This colony is barely holding together.
In the past weeks I've noticed a lot of weaknesses in our setup here, and it scared me. I suppose I could have said something, maybe helped come up with solutions, but I think it's best to just have some "me time” right now, you know? Nothing personal – I think you're a great bunch of human beings. I love you guys so much!
P.S. I had to cut the eastern fences with bolt cutters to get out, so there's probably a bunch of zombies getting in that way right now, or something. Just FYI.
S13 – Take Over Betrayal
First of all, I'd like everyone here to give themselves a hand. Truly, this was a group effort. Great job everyone – nice hustle. The colony couldn't be more perfect now. Lots of defense, plenty of food – everything me and my crew need to ensure our comfort while we wait out the zombie apocalypse. Now if you don't mind, as the old saying goes, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here. Oh, don't look so glum. You guys did a bang-up job here and I'm sure you can do it again. Or you'll die. Either way, I'm good. So what we need now is for everyone to form a line so you can be searched before you're taken to the gates. Don't get so excited. We're not monsters. We'll let you keep your clothes.
S14 – All for One Betrayal
You idiots never had a hope of surviving. The only reason any of you are alive is you got lucky, or someone smarter and stronger like me saved you. I've wanted to laugh each time you talked about setting up barricades or going out to forage. What a waste of effort! It's only a matter of time before this place falls, and man it's coming. So I've stockpiled some stuff, and now it's time to get out of here. What? Oh please. Man, I knew someone would say that. Sure my taking this stuff is probably going to hasten the colony's collapse, but I'm not going to feel bad about something that was going to happen anyway.
That isn't my fault and this is not my doing. I bet any one of you would have done the same thing already if you morons were only smart enough to think of it. Now… step away from the truck or I'll show you how dangerous I am with this thing. I'm done letting you live off my hard work.
S15 – Accept Your Fate Betrayal
Only now do you all understand the doom laid upon our species. I tried to tell you it was hopeless, but I guess you wanted to squander what was left of your lives on hard labor. The colony was just a child's daydream. Surely in your hearts you knew it wasn't sustainable? Nothing could be in the face of complete annihilation. The dead will always keep coming, and the few of us left on this planet will always be swelling their ranks.
It is best to go and seek death now in the manner most fitting for you. Me? I shall just lie here and wait. To do anything more would be embarrassingly pointless.
S16 – Trigger Happy Betrayal
Come out, come out, wherever you are. I killed most of you already, and those who are left can't hide. You see, I didn't shoot anyone in the head. Your precious neighbors and loved ones will be moving again soon, and you'll find this colony has become just another death trap. It's the zombies or me kids! You have no one but yourselves to blame. I couldn't have stockpiled all these weapons if you had just taken a moment to notice me. To recognize my hard work. Didn't you see all the things I contributed to the community? If you had just paid attention I wouldn't have been able to build this arsenal. But oh no, you all just ran around like chickens with your heads cut off, jumping from crisis to crisis.
Our brave self-appointed colony leaders! Psh. Just another exclusive clique that doesn't care about all the other people it chews up and spits out. Because it's your story, right? The rest of us are just supporting actors! Isn't that what you think? Well surprise, it turns out it's my story, and this one's all about revenge. So I'll say it again. Come out, come out, wherever you are...
S17 – Cult Leader Betrayal
The dawn of a new age is upon us! In the Old Testament, God sent down his angels to deliver punishment to the flock. But when two thousand years passed, the flock believed the Shepherd did not exist. They claimed he was mythological, and so they wallowed in their earthly comforts and sins. But what is a thousand years to God? What could even ten thousand years be to the Almighty?
Now the Shepherd has turned his eye back to his flock and found them sick with corruption, and so he does what any good caretaker would do: he culls the diseased so that the healthy might live. Make no mistake my disciples! The dead that roam across this country are the damned, and they seek out those sheep bereft of repentance. Our Lord does not wish to kill his children – indeed he loves them, even as he strikes them down. But he shall not suffer the poisoning of our souls any longer.
And so we welcome the ravenous dead, those wretches that our Lord found wanting, knowing it is a just punishment for an unjust world.
S18 – Serial Killers Betrayal
Before the outbreak I lived in terror of being caught. I'm not a sadist I don't think. I don't get off on seeing people in pain, or anything sick like that. It just fascinates me is all. I think I'm kind of like a scientist. I just really need to study people in those precious final moments. See how they react physically and emotionally to pain... see how they deal with the realization that they're going to die. I think God understood what I needed when he made the world end.
There's suffering all around me now: the pain of manual labor, the pangs of hunger, and of course the violence caused by the dead. And now so many people in the colony have died that I don't think I have to just watch anymore – there aren't enough of them to stop us and we've got the element of surprise on our side. And surprise does make for especially fascinating studies. Everyone here is going to die in the time and manner of my choosing. I'm very excited – there's going to be so much to watch and learn.
S19 – Mad Scientist Betrayal
They're almost perfect, you know? The dead, I mean. They can not only withstand any trauma save that to the brain, but they will attempt locomotion no matter the amount of damage to their trunk or extremities. Their only flaws are that they are not controllable, and of course their utter lack of intellectual capacity. Until now. Let me introduce you to two of our fallen comrades. Before my experiments they would have been doomed to be mindless cannibals that slowly rotted away. But my engineered version of the so-called zombie virus prohibits 35% of the damage done to the brain during the incubation period.
Our friends here are only suffering from the standard cellular decay that all living creatures experience, and many of their brain functions have been left intact. Oh, they're drooling automata to be sure, but they are still able to follow rudimentary commands, all while remaining completely without fear. So lay down your weapons you fools. You are too late. I secreted my gZ3 compound in the drinking water... yesterday morning. Haven't you noticed how performance at the colony started suffering then? Have you not found my words harder to follow the longer I talk? We have come to the end of your adventure, and all of you now belong to me.
S20 – Obsessed Betrayal
It's just you and me now. When I first saw you I understood that we were meant to be together. It was an epiphany of almost religious significance. Don't you get it? You were made for me. Every nuance of your personality, every feature on that lovely face – all of it came to be so that you would be perfect just for me. So you can understand my frustration when I felt, nay, witnessed your love being directed at everyone but me. You must think I'm blind to not see it. But what I cannot fathom is, why? Do you derive some perverse pleasure out of denying your purpose in this world? Is it cruelty? Or maybe, and this is what I hope, it's all some sort of test. Well here we are my love.
It's just you and me, and a little something to make it clear there are no more places for you to run. The others you so disgustingly leered at and planned secret trysts with? Dead or gone. I did that. I did it for you. For us! Always for us! So here we are, at the end of the test. So please stop your incessant weeping, and embrace our new life together. Just think – you will never have another moment in your life in which I am not right by your side.