June 13th, 2007


Zombies in the college...

This is a Zombie Invasion post.

I didn't hear any of the broadcasts in time this morning - if I had, I'd have stayed home and holed myself up in our apartment - third-floor, with three fire doors between us and the ground; it would have been a hell of a lot easier.

As it was, I was probably sitting at my workstation with music blaring from my headphones when they came lurching down the hill. The college isn't exactly secure, not to mention it's six stories and bright red brick and sticks out like a sore damned thumb from miles away. It's a public building: built to draw people *in*, not keep them out, and it's not really designed to withstand siege. And it didn't. By the time the security guards on the outside stairs figured out what was going on, half the main body of the zombies were already into the concourse. From there it's an easy enough shamble to just about anywhere on campus.

The only thing that really seems to slow them down at all is the more or less endless quantity of stairs Dougie boasts, and that not much. The first we in the Reg Office knew of the attack was when the security guards finally got 'round to drawing their guns and shooting at them. I think the gunshots scared my co-workers more, at first, than the zombies. Can't blame 'em, really. Nor can I blame the security personnel. It's probably the first time any of them has had to draw on anything not made of cardboard and pinned to a wall. It's certainly the first time most of my co-workers have heard gunshots. Most of them assumed something else, I think, especially with what happened in Virginia a while back. We're a small college with its share of disgruntleds. I get the line of thought, I do.

The noise drove most of them under their desks and it was a few minutes, I admit, before I got up the guts to venture out of my cubicle and make my way up to the front counter. Almost three minutes. I got there just about the time the screaming started, which is about the same time I snuck a peek through over the counter and pulled the fire alarm. By that time the horde was well into the concourse and trying to open the waiting room doors. Our counter girls had the presence of mind (thank all the gods) to pull the steel shutters on the counters, but there were half a dozen people in the waiting room, some of them kids.

Bless Allison, she vaulted over the counter like Indiana Jones, under the last shutter coming down, keys in hand, and dragged the doors shut. One of the Zeds was halfway through - I pulled open the waiting room door and went out after her. Pretty much unarmed - all that we've got in the office that looks like a weapon is office supplies. I managed to grab one of the foldable aluminum easels we use for projection rolls.

Turned out she didn't need me - she slammed that door shut right on the thing's arm. The crunch was weirdly satisfying. I had to hack off the bits stuck in the door, but we got it locked up. Of course, the outer doors are only glass. We had to herd everybody in the waiting room through the door into the office. That door's made of wood, but not much more secure. We heard glass breaking just as we got it locked.

Quite a few of my co-workers are gone. Some of them fled out the other doors as the shooting started... I don't know where they are now. The supervisors with their offices facing the concourse are dead, I think. More glass breaking, and doors slamming shut. They were good supervisors. They looked after us. Let's hope zombies can't remember door codes. But we can't stay here for long. There's no food and only a few big cooler-bottles of water, and eventually they'll find a way in through the ceiling ducts.

It's been about a two hours since the shots were fired. We're in the back office, now, and they haven't managed to get in past the outer doors. There are about twenty of us left of forty-five. The doors are code-locked and the Zeds don't have tools. At least one corridor back here, the one facing the Nursing hallway, has locked doors on both sides. The fire doors onto the concourse will have locked down when I pulled the fire alarm, so it should still be clear. If it's not, I don't know what we'll do.

They haven't found the phone lines, yet, and a quick call down told us that the alarms locked down the security doors in the top level of the parkade, so it should be clear down there to the emergency exits. They come out practically underground, three floors below the main level of the concourse and well out of view of the street. If we can get to the river - and if the radio's right and they came from uphill instead of down... they might be held up enough by the tempting target of the college to give us a clear shot - there'll be boats. I know there are plenty, just down from the restaurants on the wharf. After that, I'm not sure. It all depends on whether I can prove to be not shit at piloting anything bigger than a speedboat. But at least one person says he can sail. We might make it, yet.

Haven't been able to get through to Mum, who's in a similar situation, but I'm strangely unworried about my family, really. Give 'em something sharp and someplace to defend, they'll be fine. They'll all make for the house and lock up tight. Thanks to my mother's paranoia over the flood, they've got enough food and water to last weeks, at least, and the river itself should slow things down. Littlestsis should be fine, back East. I hear they haven't hit there, yet, so they'll have plenty of warning.

I just wish we weren't so terrifyingly unarmed. In terms of useful-in-combat we've currrently got Jill, Allison, and a couple of clerks whose names I've never bothered to learn. And me, but my right shoulder is hurting like a bitch. I can't see it, but Allison says I've got a long scrape that's still bleeding, though she tried to patch it up. Our Shop Steward was also the First Aid tech but she's one of the ones that took off through a back door half an hour ago. I'm sure I got it when we were blockading the doors, and I'm hoping it's not... infected. Can't check for a while, 'til we're someplace safe. But I trust a couple of people here, at least, do do the necessary thing if it comes up. It doesn't feel infected, though. Just hurts. Did I mention it *really* hurts?

There's also the problem of more than half of us being pretty much shell-shocked. Most of the ones who aren't are still talking about it like it's a shooting. They either didn't see before we locked the doors or are pretending they didn't, and telling them the truth doesn't seem to have done much good. I don't like how that might play out once we're outside and running, but if it comes to leaving them behind to save ourselves, I guess we'll just have to. We can't carry all of them. There's three toddlers here already, and they come before adults who are capable of running but won't.

It's getting quiet out there. Sounds like they're moving upstairs. Time for another phone call and then a break for it, if it's clear.

Downside of being Canadian during an attack of the undead: no guns, and nowhere to get them. The radio's saying the regiment up on the hill was called out, but it didn't say how they were faring. Points to them having come down from the train tracks, anyway. Good news for us. Not so much for all the houses and schools in between.

No food, no weapons. Even if we do get to safe ground we can't stay there long. I'm taking one of the department laptops but there's no way of knowing when we'll hit a WiFi signal again. Wish us luck. And speed. Wish us speed, too.

Zombies: Not under siege, exactly...

This is a Zombie Invasion post.

We just barely made it through, and lost a few more people doing it. Two people from the office and one from the waiting room froze up and we had to leave them. We locked up, so there's a good chance they'll be safe from the zombies for a while, but there's still no food and not much water and eventually...

Another group made up of mostly the main secondary school and some of the shops on Columbia St has commandered the casino ship, the Royal City Star - we're anchored just out from the bank, now, and they're coming down from the hill. It's getting pretty thick down on the wharf, we can see them from here. We keep seeing people try to swim from the Quay out to where we're anchored. Some of them are making it. A lot of them aren't. The zombies haven't tried swimming, yet. It'll be interesting when they try.

I'm really impressed with the high school kids. There are about a half-dozen Grade Twelves leading forty-plus kids - apparently they were in the middle of a basketball game when the undead showed up. The older ones just reacted, got as many of their classmates rounded up as they could, and made a run for it. They're smart kids - it's starting to look like only the smart people made it, mainly the ones who were willing and able to accept what was happening, right away. They raided a convenience store on their mad dash down the hill, so we've got an augmented food supply as well as things we didn't have time to stop for: batteries, flares, kerosene... and the entire contents of the New West Secondary Archery Club storeroom. Holy crap, I've never been so surprised in my life as when one of the leaders, a little blonde in a basketball jersey an inch shorter than me, hauled off and put three arrows into two zombies to give her friends time to cross before diving in herself. The kids came up to the Quay just as we did, just as the Star was pulling out. But they all made it. Hell, they came down the hill thick with zombies and not a bite on any of them. They're calmer than a full two-thirds of the adults, too.

On the upside, we've got plenty of food, and there are weapons, now, after a fashion, so if we have to move or fight off an aquatic attack, we've got something on our side. If we cut loose, we'll make the coast pretty damned fast; the flood they've been threatening for days has got the water level up a few feet above normal. I hope we don't have to. I don't relish the idea of trying to find harbour if it keeps raining like this. This ship's not really meant to do much travelling. It's meant to sit at the dock and let people gamble. The "captain" is pretty shaken. He's spent the last hour sitting in his office with the door closed.

The shoulder's fine, but still hurts quite a lot. Is it weird that at this exact moment in time, I'm more worried about the satellite uplink to the Internet holding out than the zombies learning to swim?

Have to sign off - somebody needs the link to try and contact the New West Regiment, the police, anybody. We tried half an hour ago with no luck. Hopefully somebody's still there to contact.

Zombies vs. Pirates

This is a Zombie Invasion post.

Okay, so the upside is that the Zeds can't swim.

The downside is that there are about fifty boats tethered at or near the Quay and they appear to be just smart enough to unhook them and hope they drift to us. They're not really any good at climbing, but a couple of them have gotten pretty close. I've marshalled some of our teenaged superheroes on top deck watch, sending down arrows, and lighting up the ones that get within a few metres of the decks - flaming zombies going floating down towards the river are a heartening sight. But soon, either they'll run out of boats, or we'll run out of arrows. I'm hoping it's the former... we haven't got many other projectile weapons, just a dozen or so handguns from ship security, and there's only so much flamethrowing you can do with mini kerosene cannisters.

But another upside: it appears that a lot of the flood readiness that the Lower Mainland has been doing works against Zombies, too - at least in terms of supplying ourselves and locking up. Everyone's got enough food and water to last the week or so they expected the flood to kill power and tapwater. I also think the shore's still got power, but I do know that the Army divisions called out the sandbag the river turned right around and started mowing down zombies with military trucks. City Hall's barricaded and the Regiment cleared all the survivors out of the schools - luckily they're pretty close together, so they were pretty easy to evacuate once the Army got its ass in gear. Our group of kids were on the outskirts of the six-block area where all the schools are. They just got unlucky.

Here's another reason New Westminster appears to have been built on a steep hill - zombie attacks. I bet Lord Douglas never thought of that. But from where I stand up top, I can see 8th Ave has been burning for most of the afternoon, since just after we got out. The Regiment and the police have been clearing out the city from Uptown down to the river, from 12th Street to 5th. Everything on the edges of that area is a crapshoot - the Zeds worked out the Skytrain line, so the advantage of being a lot of spread-out cities loosely-connected is gone. Burnaby's chaos, and last I heard from the crew Metrotown isn't doing much better, though we've been in near-constant contact with a group who've holed up a few hundred people in the admin offices and the daycare off the main court.

Mum, Dad, and Middlesis are fine. Hammond went on lockdown as soon as the first reports came in, and they're just isolated enough that it's hard for the hordes to get to them, moving on foot. They're too far out of the transit net for them to be infested easily - there have only been a few out in Ridge, apparently, and Mum's somehow strong-armed herself into the neighbourhood militia commander, to no one's great surprise. Most of the neighbourhood is sheltering at the community centre, and Mum says after the first few attacks things have been pretty quiet. They're stocked up and they're well-armed, more or less. They know what they're doing. That's the sticks for you. Littlestsis says the Katimahouse is close enough to the edge of town - they're literally right on the ocean - that people have been showing up all day in twos and threes and asking for shelter. The kids have set up a patrol and are keeping everybody upstairs, even though where they are they can only hear gunfire and explosions on occasion, and haven't actually seen any Zeds. All my local friends have locked themselves in their apartments, and aren't moving.

The Regiment's out in force now, and I can see little explosions going off up and down the hill. I'm guessing that they're going to call us back in, soon, or at least come out to check us. The Quay's about the only part of the city where I can still see any Zeds in numbers greater than three or four. They've been trying to get to us all afternoon, and it's got them massing on the bank. The Regiment should make their way down here, soon, and then we'll all have some choices to make. I don't think I can stand evacuating to somewhere and sitting down in a crowded shelter - I'm going stir-crazy as it is. Maybe they'll give me a gun - they must need people - and I think I still remember how to fire one...

...if not, there's always flamethrowers, and I can drive a truck over a Zed as well as the next girl.

Standing on the top deck, I can see Surrey's mostly in flames. Somebody set off charges in the middle of the Pattullo almost an hour ago, and with binoculars I can see the hordes milling around on either side as the bridge falls very slowly into the river. We're taking bets on whether they'll jump or catch fire.

...this has been a strange day.
hello city

Another one of those good news, bad news things, this time with zombies.

This is a Zombie Invasion post.

Good news: we're back on terra firma, if a little wet. All the Zeds that couldn't make the boat sort of dissolved in the river, and at just about the point we finished picking off the last one the folks in uniform finally rolled down to the bank. Getting back to shore was a bit of a trial, since the captain had drunk himself into unconsciousness and this boat hasn't moved in about eight years. In the end we slung a line back to the Quay and hauled ourselves in with a little help from the New West police.

Other good news: the roomie made it back to the apartment, and has been locked up all day. She somehow managed to make it back inside just ahead of the attack. But I'm kinda glad I won't have to shoot her. Also that my stuff's okay. ;)

Bad news: I was, if briefly, under arrest. Get this: for PIRACY. Some barely-eighteen idiot in a uniform decided to get all official with us over unhitching the Royal City Star. What the hell did they expect us to do, anyway? That close to the river a boat was our best bet for miles.

That said, after the initial moment of exhausted outrage, for about five minutes I was torn between giggling and running back to the ship to become a zombie-hunting pirate.

Fortunately I wasn't the only one to spot the inherent ridiculousness in wasting red tape on little old us during an invasion of the undead. The various people-in-charge patted us on the head and herded us in the general direction of evac vehicles. Most of us. Those of us holding weapons when we came ashore they ushered quietly aside.

Get this: I've been deputized.


No, that was not originally my observation. It was Sean's - he works at the bug zoo on Columbia and is a mean hand with a flamethrower. He's being evacced - he got a nasty burn on one arm and won't be doing much shooting like that.

Crux of it is, they've given us camelpacks of saltwater and asked all the adults among us to make our way down the Skytrain line. The Regiment and the PD lost about half their numbers during the first stage of the invasion and it sounds like most of the rest of the Tri-Cities is in the same state. But evidently saltwater works like hydrochloric acid against the Zeds, and is a hell of a lot easier to put together with a super-soaker (another fortunate dollar-store raid by our teenaged superheroes - unfortunately Jenny and Geoff, the leaders of the gang from the high school, were both marched off to evac for both being seventeen, never mind that they killed more zombies between them than all the rest of us put together), mainly as it doesn't melt the innards and doesn't hurt us carrying it. Apparently West Van didn't have nearly as much trouble as the rest of the GVRD as everyone just headed West 'til they hit the ocean. The VFD started pumping up seawater and they had Spanish Banks to English Bay zombie-free and quiet by two this afternoon. Anyway, the immediate area has been cleaned out, most of the major urban centres are more or less horde-free, but there are little pockets and stragglers and the official forces are devoting themselves to evacuation and putting out fires and sensible things like that, not leaving much time for cleanup. We are going zombie hunting.

Actually, I feel like I should say that like this: GOIN' ZOMBIE HUNTIN'.

...it has been a very long day.

Let's hope my second wind lasts a while. Good thing I caught a few hours on the ship, 'cause it looks like I'm not going to sleep much tonight. Wish me well, folks. Be safe.