Investigate the Keeley Centre
You overhear Nadia briefing Runner 20 - Archie Jensen - for her mission to the Keeley Centre, on which you will be accompanying her. Before she realises you're there, she wonders why such a "big cheese" will be coming with her. Given that you're a member of New Canton's council and a well-respected Runner for the settlement, it's surprising that Archie isn't embarrassed when she discovers you've overheard her. The two of you set off for the Keeley Centre.
Archie tells you about her past, and how she came to New Canton. She talks about working with Chris McShell and another scientist - a meteorologist - to investigate why there are fewer zombies when it rains for three consecutive days. Before the outbreak, she'd been doing postdoctoral research nearby, with an attachment to the Pandora Haze facility at the Keeley Centre. She mentions an experiment in which mice regrew their legs. Finally, she explains how she arrived at New Canton.
Out of SightEdit
As you approach the Keeley Centre, Nadia alerts you to an incoming runner. She questions why Abel would send a runner all the way out here. As you head into the tree-line to wait for the runner to pass out of sight, Nadia spots a person signalling to an incoming helicopter and tells you to hide.
Professor Van ArkEdit
The helicopter lands at the Keeley Centre, as the runner from Abel exits the building from the other side. The runner's carrying a file of some description. Nadia begins to direct you to circle around the building, but is interrupted by Archie, who exclaims that she recognises the man getting out of the helicopter; it's Professor Van Ark.
As you sneak closer to the Keeley Centre, Archie ruminates on the interesting properties of the word "sneaky", much to Nadia's amusement. Your approach is halted by someone exiting the building, which prompts you to flee the scene.
Follow That Helicopter!Edit
Van Ark and his men exit the Keeley centre, carrying boxes of equipment and files. They then proceed to fire rocket launchers at the building, demolishing it, before taking off in the helicopter. Archie is alarmed by what's happening and rattles off a number of questions before deciding that you need to follow the helicopter.
After a long chase, you crest the top of a hill to gain a good look at the departing helicopter. It's heading due north, and Archie marks your next destination.
NADIA AL HANAKI: Runner Twenty, report to the northwest tunnel. Runner Twenty!
ARCHIE JENSEN: I’m here, I’m here! You don’t have to shout, you know. I requested this mission to the Keeley Center, I’m hardly going to be late for a run to investigate my own old offices.
NADIA AL HANAKI: Sorry. It’s just, Runner Five’s going to be here any moment.
ARCHIE JENSEN: Wow, what did I do to warrant the “big cheese”? “Big cheese”? Why cheese? Big cheeses aren’t scary or important. “Big Shark” would be better. “Big Rhino”? Although I suppose a big cheese is scary if someone is wheeling it down the road at you. Not that I’m saying Runner Five is scary, more like… “impressive”. Or maybe “intimidating”… yes, that’s a good word.
NADIA AL HANAKI: Runner Twenty?
ARCHIE JENSEN: “Domineering”? No, that’s too strong.
NADIA AL HANAKI: Runner Twenty!
ARCHIE JENSEN: Lem always said Runner Five seemed kind of -
NADIA AL HANAKI: Archie, Runner Five is here now. Look to your left. No, your other left.
ARCHIE JENSEN: Ah! Runner Five, good to see you again. I was just coming up with words to describe you. Want to join in? … No? Okay!
NADIA AL HANAKI: Runner Five and Runner Twenty, mission to the Keeley Center. Nothing too taxing, it’s just five kilometers, and we’re light on zombies today. Should be an easy run, there and back. Open the tunnel! [gate opening] Set off the noisemakers to the west! [distant explosions] Go!
ARCHIE JENSEN: So, Runner Five. You’re interested in this mission? … Ah, I know. No chatting on the missions. No unnecessary clatter to the airwaves. Protocol. Responsibility. Aw, I don’t know. It’s fun to talk on a mission, isn’t it? I like it! This is how Runner 34 and I started dating. We did break up after a few weeks, and then he got eaten… but still. Fun to chat! Find out about new people! Or at least you can find out about me. You can tell me if I should be quiet…
No zombies around, eh? Do you think the weather affects them? There is a woman in G12 block who used to be a meteorologist. She thinks there are fewer zombies when it rains heavily for three days. Rot sets in, or maybe there’s some atmospheric condition they don’t like. We need to study it more. I said I’d help her, all my science training, said it’s wasted. I liked working with Chris McShell, remember him? Before he deserted? Or maybe you never met him.
Hey, wanna swap stories of the apocalypse? I’ll start. I was doing my postdoc in the university, with an attachment to the Keeley Center two days a week. That’s where we’re going today, to get equipment. And I was doing a bit of time in the labs at Pandora Haze. Researching some crazy things to make mice regrow their legs! [snorts] I know, totally insane fairy tale stuff. Also, a lot of mice had to have their legs cut off. We had death threats from the Mice Liberationists.
But when everyone started to go crazy with the growling and the lurching and - you know, crazy - me and my boyfriend Peter just decided to stay inside. Our flat was on the top floor of the building. We cleared that whole floor of zombies, put out buckets to catch the rain, made two or three raids to the supermarket, grew a little garden. It was quite nice. A lot of our friends were dead, but the weather was quite good, remember? We sunbathed, we cooked on a little camping stove, like a holiday. We only decided to come to New Canton when it started to get rainy and cold. England is so rainy. Peter is doing well, too. He’s working in our New Canton gardens. He’s seeing one of the girls there, now. They’re so cute together, with their earthy fingernails! Earthy? Ground-y? Soil-y? English is so funny…
ARCHIE JENSEN: Look, do you see it? There’s the Keeley Center, that big white building in the middle of the grounds with all the trees to one side. It’s so pretty! And it hasn’t crumbled like some of the -
NADIA AL HANAKI: Runner Five? Runner Twenty? Stay alert! There’s a runner at two o'clock from your position.
ARCHIE JENSEN: Yeah, we see the runner, Nadia. It looks like someone from Abel Township.
NADIA AL HANAKI: What are Abel Township planning? What could they have sent a runner out all that way for?
ARCHIE JENSEN: The runner is heading into the Keeley Center! Shall we follow? We could be spies following a suspect! Oh, wait, Runner Five’s heading into the treeline. [helicopter rotors turning] I guess we just circle and wait for the runner to leave the -
NADIA AL HANAKI: There’s someone’s signaling to a chopper. Stay out of sight, both of you. That’s not an aircraft we’re expecting.
[helicopter rotors turning]
NADIA AL HANAKI: That chopper’s landing. Stay clear.
ARCHIE JENSEN: Do you see, Runner Five? The runner from Abel Township is heading out of the other side of the building. What’s that? Nadia, can you see what that runner is carrying? Looks like some kind of file?
NADIA AL HANAKI: I can’t see. Stay low, though, both of you. Continue to circle around. We want to see what’s going on, but we don’t want to -
ARCHIE JENSEN: Oh my god!
NADIA AL HANAKI: What is it?
ARCHIE JENSEN: Oh my! Look at that man getting out of the helicopter!
NADIA AL HANAKI: Do you know him?
ARCHIE JENSEN: I used to do some work for him. It’s Professor Van Ark!
NADIA AL HANAKI: Runner Five, Runner Twenty, report.
ARCHIE JENSEN: Can we abort quietly? We’re trying to be very sneaky here, hey? [snorts] “Sneaky” is a good word. It’s fun to say - “sneaky sneaky sneaky sneaky”! … Oh, now it doesn’t sound like it means anything. “Sneaky, sneaky, sneak”… I’ve lost all language.
NADIA AL HANAKI: You’ll need some language, Runner Twenty, in order to report?
ARCHIE JENSEN: Okay, I’m here. Following Runner Five, who I think has some kind of plan. We’re walking slowly around the far side of the building. There are two guards standing at the main entrance, and that Pandora Haze helicopter is parked further back. Wait, do you “park” a helicopter? That doesn’t sound right. “Land”… but then, if it’s just there do you say it’s “landed” further back? That sounds like it’s just arrived!
NADIA AL HANAKI: [laughs] I think there’s a linguistics professor in dorm seventeen. You can ask them when you get back from your dangerous, important mission.
ARCHIE JENSEN: Okay, we’re sneaking a bit close to the guards. “Sneak”! It’s still fun to say!
NADIA AL HANAKI: What can you see?
ARCHIE JENSEN: [gasps] There’s someone coming out! We’ve got to get out of here! Run!
ARCHIE JENSEN: Okay. We’re okay. We’re further away, now, still looking, just circling around again. Professor Van Ark has come out of the building with three soldiers. They’re carrying some boxes, big boxes. Equipment, maybe, or lots of files? Or - oh.
NADIA AL HANAKI: What are you seeing? Are you and Runner Five safe?
[rocket launcher being fired]
ARCHIE JENSEN: I - we’re safe, aren’t we, Runner Five? We must be safe.
NADIA AL HANAKI: What are you seeing?
ARCHIE JENSEN: They’ve got rocket launchers They’re firing them at the building! They’re - [explosions, glass shattering] Why would they destroy the whole building? How can Professor Van Ark still be alive? Why are they blowing up Keeley, it’s so pretty! And what did that Abel runner want, and… [helicopter takes off] We need to follow that helicopter, at least to see roughly what direction it’s going. Let’s run.
ARCHIE JENSEN: There, we’ve done it! Do you see?
NADIA AL HANAKI: We’ve only got patchy cameras in that sector, Runner Twenty! What’s going on?
ARCHIE JENSEN: Woohoo! We did it, we made it! I didn’t think we could, but Runner Five encouraged me for the last five hundred meters, and we did it!
NADIA AL HANAKI: What!
ARCHIE JENSEN: We’re on the top of the hill. We can see where the helicopter is heading - due north. We’ll have to find out what’s there.