The Exodus of Harveyville
23 Apr 2013, ~16:30
The townsfolk of Harveyville accepted the presence of the Crew, but some among them were clearly not too excited about seeing the “Jackals” return. Jack went out of his way to greet a thin, balding, older man, Saul Tyson; smiling broadly, Jack sucker-punched him in the jaw, and the two had to be pulled apart by their respective fellows—the Crew correctly guessed that Saul was responsible for leaving the Jackals behind while on patrol. The apparent man-in-charge of Harveyville, Bill Adams, a local policeman, greeted the Crew and thanked them for being “Good Samaritans,” in spite of the fact that he wasn’t terribly excited about the Jackals’ return. There were around a hundred of them left, and they had little in the way of supplies—the reason for their exodus—but he welcomed the Crew to join their convoy, which consisted of a handful of older vehicles, and a few old buses (they could really use that truck and trailer). They planned to set out the following day, for Oregon, and a rumoured survivor-city in the mountains there. The town was suffering from an outbreak of an unknown-to-them illness—anyone with sufficient medical expertise had been lost—at which point Matthew lept into action, grabbing his medical supplies and rushing to the bus where the sick had been quarantined—he would later return his diagnosis as “influenza,” though privately, he cautioned that this appeared to be a surprisingly virulent outbreak, and warned the Crew to stay clear of the population, just in case. There was a faction amongst the townies that believed the sickness to be a prelude to Turning (to zombification), and felt those infected should be mercifully put down; the Jackals were loudly in favor of killing them, and Bill didn’t quite trust them not to take matters into their own hands, hence their attempted removal—the chosen method of which was not approved by him. The Crew were put up in a nearby church, which had clearly seen better days; there were a few cots set up there, and Wes immediately collapsed into one. The others eventually followed.
They were all awakened by a strange dream: standing in the basement of the church back in Bushong, where they had found Matthew, and left Kesler’s body, Kesler was standing there, alive and speaking to them. He said:
I’m trying to find you, but Our vision is clouded now. I must be quick, as I must remain undetected by the Enemy. You were saved for a reason, for a purpose, to gather the Untainted, like yourselves, and get them somewhere safe, to start over; “Blessed are those who have not seen…” But you must beware the wolves hiding amongst the sheep; they will seek to scatter the flock
24 Apr 2013, ~03:30
Ann and Korbin separately decided to stay awake; Korbin decided to do a quick security patrol, and Ann ended up following. As they wandered down the street toward where the vehicles had been gathered, they realized one of the buses—the sick-bus, as it turned out—was on fire. The two rushed to help, Korbin kicking in the door to the building on the street-corner, to get a fire extinguisher—the surprised occupants pointed him to it, and followed after to help. Ann spotted some movement inside the burning bus, and as they approached, could tell that some, but not all, were likely zombies. Hearing some of the commotion after having rolled back over to return to sleep, John, Nick and Matthew arose and saw the fire, and ran to join the effort. Korbin doused the emergency door at the back of the bus, and Ann, using some bits of tire-rubber found nearby to protect her hands, opened the door quickly. Korbin dropped the fire extinguisher and produced “Suzie-Q,” his Ruger Super Redhawk, taking aim at the zombies while carefully trying to avoid shooting the living—the report of the .454 Casull could be heard for miles, and he ended up switching to his machete. Ann helped the first survivor get clear. John, Nick and Matthew arrived on the scene, about the same time as some townies bearing water-buckets; Nick and Matthew went ’round back, and helped survivors out of the bus, Matthew performing first-aid; John ran ’round to the side-door and kicked it open, as Ann joined him with the fire extinguisher and doused the area. In the end, four of the infirmed made it out of the burning death-trap; all had burns, and two had been bitten—out of earshot, Matthew sadly declared he didn’t expect those bitten to last the day. Everyone in the Crew, with the exception of John, had now had physical contact with flu-victims, and were at risk for contracting it. By the time the entire town had gathered, the fire was smoldering, the bus a total loss, as were those that didn’t make it out in time.
Those in charge immediately started trying to figure out how this happened, though many, predictably, pointed the finger of blame at the Jackals; they were not present at the time, but were brought forward, and in spite of their protest of innocence, were incarcerated, under guard, in a nearby building, pending judgement. One of the bucket-brigade was the assigned bus-guard, who said that he had been knocked in the head from behind, and never saw his attacker; the survivors saw nothing but a silhouette in the darkness. John had looked over the crime scene and identified a few gas-cans that clearly suggested arson.
Given the noise, Bill ordered an immediate zed-patrol; Ann, Korbin and Nick volunteered, and were accepted, given hunters’-vests, the informal “uniform” of the militia; there were a few walkers attracted to the commotion that were put down—regular patrols had cleared out most of them already. John went around talking to those who remained awake to patrol or pack, comforting and encouraging. Korbin found himself inspired by the role of town protector.
Some time after sunup—if you could call it that, with the still overcast skies—the entire town was rounded up for a meeting. A lynching was stirring up against the Jackals, and the town leadership agreed that whatever was going to happen needed to be taken care of before they left. They decided on a tribunal; Bill Adams, Laura Rosen, and Saul Tyson would judge the case, and Lee Adams, son of Bill, a local lawyer, offered to stand in the Jackals’ defense. Jack Elliot declared the Jackals’ innocence, although they had no real alibi—John paid close attention to Jack’s body language, and felt he was being truthful, and a little fearful of his crew’s inevitable condemnation. The opposition was stirred up by another townie, Tom Zachary, insisting that everyone knew who was responsible. John was mentally preparing for whichever way the town went: by having brought the Jackals back to town, the Crew could be associated with them, and potentially share some or all of their ultimate fate, but by siding with an angry town, the Jackals would undoubtedly count the Crew as their enemy. However, himself unjustly accused at one time, John spoke up, in an impassioned speech about “rule-of-law,” “innocent until proven guilty,” and “this isn’t how we do things in America.” After the debate-dust between John and Tom had settled, the tribunal, and the town in general, were swayed by John to give the Jackals the benefit of doubt. Afterward, John immediately went around to the particulars, to make sure that they understood that he wasn’t all that friendly with Elliot’s crew, and taking their side out of loyalty; all but Saul seemed to genuinely understand and appreciate his efforts to promote true justice, and bore the Crew no ill feeling. It did, however, leave them all with no idea how the fire had occurred.
The town wasted no time getting the exodus under way, minus one of the buses. The Crew volunteered to help, and were tasked with scout duty: a number of militia were being sent out ahead of the convoy to scout the road and towns and report back before sundown. The Crew was briefed on the route to be taken—a 1700 mile slog, with much of the town on foot—and where they expected to be at the end of the day. The Crew’s trailer was hitched to one of the convoy vehicles—they really didn’t need it. Matthew and Rush stayed with the townies; the rest of the Crew boarded the truck and set off down the road.
- Don’t appear to be any more vulnerable to fire than what one expects from a “normal” corpse
- GM Confidence: 5 of 5—couldn’t say why, but I felt really good about this one. Maybe just the long hiatus combined with the desperate need to get it back on track
- Due to absences and GM breakdowns, this session followed an effective three-week hiatus—the intro actually occurred earlier
- In the interim, I developed a new procedure: instead of requiring the Players to telegraph their next moves, I’m requiring them to “write the next session”; gives me exactly what I need to know about their expectations. This session was the first instance of that procedure in use; I used elements of what was suggested, with my own twist on it. I’m planning to keep this going and see how it shakes out
- defiantbudah had to bail on us this week; he could potentially be gone for a while for work—Wes may end up hanging back with the townies to help keep the vehicles running
- Part two of why Kesler’s Player having bailed is good is now beginning to be revealed
- The (New) Battlestar Galactica homage/ripoff is an old idea of mine that I planned to use, in one form or another, through a few non-produced campaigns; everybody in the group has seen the series, some recently, so it works especially well here. My original plans were to take a town, like Jericho, and populate it with BSG folk, but the tarot draw from last time had them leaving, so we now have “the fleet”
- Got to break out some new Social Engineering stuff, in this case, the Debate (in this situation, more appropriate than the Trial); John’s deck was stacked against him, but it worked out in his favor anyway. I drew tarot to determine how the trial would go, and came up with the Magician, in reverse; a charismatic, but bad influence—Tom Zarek was the obvious choice. Also, with all the attention, determined that nobody in town recognized him (visually)—Reputation not in effect (yet)