ATZ:FFO 2: No One Pushes Camper Vans Like Gaston
“So, where are we going again?”
Gemma rolled her eyes at Lara’s question from the back of the camper van. Curled up in the front passenger seat next to Roger, her bow across her lap, she peered out into the dim light of the early morning, watching the road markings roll past the headlights.
“I told you; Haven,” she answered, not bothering to turn around, “It means going a little closer to the city than I would like, but trust me. It’s there.”
The two groups were mostly squashed together in the rear, sitting on opposite sides of the van facing each other. By now, it was clear that phone reception was gone completely, making contact with friends and family back home impossible. Chloe sat looking at her glittering engagement ring, wondering if her parents were still alive to tell her good news to.
We decided that the RV was running out of gas and needed to refuel. It would move 12" less 1D6 each turn. This erratic distance would reflect the juddering nature of a vehicle that was effectively running on fumes. We also decided that if we rolled a '1' then the vehicle would move for that turn, but would not go any further as it was completely out of fuel.
We placed three PEFs on the board and decided to roll 1D6+6 to determine the number of Zeds we'd place on the table 24" away from the RV. We thought the area would be relatively free of Zeds as there would not be many people left after the Zeds had passed through at some point before our game. Of course, we then rolled 8, and after some ridiculous dice rolls, they were all placed directly in the RV's path.
What happened next has been dramatised by Andrew. Suffice to say, it was another good one!
“Where were you all headed?” Alex asked the newcomers. Dorothy laughed shortly.
“En route to the airport. Holiday to Australia,” she admitted, shrugging her shoulders, “Though it looks as though that’s out of the question now!”
“Not to worry, Dorothy!” Roger announced from the front, “We will be out of here in no time! No one drives-,”
“…Like Gaston,” the other survivors chorused in the back and Roger scowled. After the tenth time he had claimed to be the best at something, Lara had scathingly replied like Gaston and the name had stuck, much to his growing indignation. Was it really his fault if it was true? Gemma reached across and patted his arm, her eyes wide.
“What’s that?” She pointed at a large cluster of Zeds in the distance. Alex leaned in between them.
“You’d better swerve. The last thing we need is to get stuck out here.” Roger flashed him an arrogant smile.
“Are you serious? No one bowls better than me! Watch this strike!” he announced, flooring the accelerator – or was it the clutch? The van let out a large bang and began to slow down, still headed straight for the Zeds. Barely moving far enough to knock three on their backs, it came to a screeching halt right in the middle of the pack. Glancing from the stumbling Zeds to the frowning faces of his companions, Roger at least managed to clear his throat.
“Right, then. Plan B.”
Kicking open the door, he grabbed his crossbow and leapt out, firing into the mob. After a moment, the rest shrugged and followed, adding their own shots to the fusillade which made short work of their undead stalkers. Catching their breath, they took in their surroundings; a diner stood nearby, with a gas station further down the road. Alex and Dorothy came together to plan.
“I’ll take my lot into the diner and see if we can’t find anything to eat,” the young blonde suggested, jabbing a thumb at the camper van, “You see if you can’t get Mr Universe over there to do something useful and get the van down to the gas station. With any luck, we won’t have to-,”
The remains of one of the Zeds run over by the van reared up behind them, stomach caved in by a notable tyre tread impression. Alex turned in time to see it screaming in his face before its chest exploded and it fell limply to the tarmac. Tin Man stood behind it, brandishing a shotgun.
“Honestly. Turning your back on one of these things without making sure it was really dead…” he scoffed as he set off for the diner, the other Oz travellers in tow.
“Uh…don’t shoot?” suggested the closer of the two, a baseball cap and shades hiding most of his features. It took him a moment to realise that he was brandishing a large chainsaw, awkwardly hiding it behind his back. “Fellow survivors? Friends?”
“If you say so,” Dorothy replied, lowering her pistol. Without taking her eyes from the strangers, she addressed the trio, “Check the kitchens. Take everything that isn’t bolted down.” As the others fanned out, she focused her attention on the chainsaw wielder. “What’s with the chainsaw?” she asked. He beamed, delighted she was interested
“Why not a chainsaw?" he asked. "The chainsaw is the holy weapon, the divine Zed slayer. Its use is the Fourth Commandment of the Cult of Baz!”
Dorothy’s eyebrow went up, very slowly.
“The Cult…of what?”
“Did you see that? A perfect shot!” he called from the driver door, one foot inside pressing down on the pedals. Further back, Chloe winced.
“I think your foot is on the clutch again…”
“Less talking, more pushing!” Lara snapped from the back of the van, looking over her shoulder to see a line of shuffling bodies following them down the highway, “The Zeds are outrunning us; that’s how slowly we’re moving!”
Hopefully Dorothy was faring better…
Dorothy was sitting in a booth watching her gang tear apart the kitchens looking for food, whilst her new “friend” went on and on about his own personal faith. He was clearly embodied in a long-dead man called Baz whom supposedly had survived the previous “Zedpocalypse”. She had tried to convince this man, also now named Baz after his hero, that no such event had occurred but he had just smiled sadly and shaken his head.
“That’s what the Government wants you to believe. But the Cult of Baz, we know. We understand. We remember his words, what he did. The Great Baz, the Bazinator, the Zed Slayer, the Agent of Apocalypse. All of those titles and hundreds more. How could he not be real?”
He was showing her a battered, dog-eared cheap book filled with quotations and, supposedly, the Laws of Baz. Many of the pages were dominated by images (of varying quality) of the man himself, almost a carbon copy of the man opposite her (“Cosmetic surgery!” he had explained proudly).
“Wherever Zeds appear, so shalt the Cult of Baz,” he quoted from the grubby pages, “With most Holy Chainsaw Divinitatum shalt they smite the vile Zed and return them to their graves!”
Before Baz could go any further into the laws of the Cult of Baz, the others returned from the kitchens bearing bulging backpacks. Enough for a few days’ food at least. Belatedly, it occurred to Dorothy that she had forgotten to keep her eye on the door; sure enough, on both sides of the diner, groaning shadows could be seen swaying outside. Reloading her pistol, she stood and glanced at the bizarre priest.
“Well, it looks as though you may yet get your chance!”
Alex’s group had reached the gas station just ahead of the shambling Zeds, the others keeping watch and firing off the occasional shot while the young police officer filled up the tank. A loud banging was coming ominously from the gas station itself, but no one was willing to take the risk of finding out what was inside. Trying to ignore the insistent knocking, they kept their eyes on the undead drawing closer with every step, waiting for Dorothy and the others to catch up.
“What did you do?!”
Baz winced as Dorothy screamed in his face, the young woman’s fury of greater concern to him than any Zed.
“The Laws of Baz!” he protested, brandishing his chapbook, “The twenty-fifth law of Baz decrees that the alighting of a signal will draw all nearby Zeds out of hiding; that way, we know where they are rather than being caught off guard!” Dorothy’s mouth hung open in disbelief.
“That’s not a strategy!” she screamed, “You’ve just drawn the attention of every Zed for miles!”
“Well,” the Tin Man said hesitantly, “When he puts it like that, there is a certain logic-,”
“Shut up and run!” Dorothy insisted, grabbing a rucksack and running for her life. Glancing over his shoulder, Baz spotted the first Zeds emerge from the smoke behind him. Grinning broadly, he lifted his chainsaw.
The Zeds were everywhere. Alex’s crew laid down fire as best they could, but for each one felled, another seemed to be spat out of the shadows nearby. Securing the gas cap, Alex slapped the panel shut as he saw Dorothy and her friends running for the van.
“Time to go!”
There were strangers with them; a male in orange overalls who sprinted past them all and vanished into the early morning gloom; two Japanese men screaming at the top of their lungs, and a baseball-capped male clutching a roaring chainsaw. Roger stopped them at the side of the van.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
The two Japanese both began talking at once, none of it in English. Roger scowled.
“I speak several languages; this is not one of them.”
The tall man flinched as his fiancée stormed down the side of the van, her eyes flaming. She stood before him, hands on hips.
“Let them on board. Now!”
He swallowed and stepped aside, the two men bowing and thanking Chloe profusely as they hurried aboard. Dorothy, meanwhile, was trying to convince Baz.
“Come with us, there are too many of them out here!” The zealot merely smiled behind his shades.
“Too many for now. Just wait until my chainsaw gets involved.” He offered her a folded piece of paper. “Find this address; one of the safe houses the Cult keeps across the State. If the Zeds haven’t found it yet, then you should be good to hole up in there for a while. The Cult of Baz protects!”
Saluting her with the chainsaw, he turned and ran towards the mob, hacking and slashing his way through a tide of bodies. Dorothy watched him until Tin Man grabbed her by the arm and hauled her on board, the van already revving up to speed. Once more, they fled, leaving chaos in their wake.