Escort Valuable Cargo
Sam tells you that you're taking some valuable supplies to Red Settlement today, and introduces your running partner for today: Chris McShell, Runner 10. Sam enthuses about Chris's zombie-killing prowess, which he downplays. Chris then explains that you'll be transporting hard drives full of knowledge - very valuable cargo.
No Worse Than AverageEdit
Sam confirms that the runner from Red Settlement is en route to the rendezvous. Runner 10 expresses worry about the tactic of having runners from both places meet in the middle, as his research shows that zombies can sense when humans are gathering together. He then explains that he left New Canton because they wouldn't let him carry on his research. Chris explains that he has been using his statistics background to analyse zombie movements, before telling the story of losing his family during the outbreak.
Runner 10 notices that the two of you are gathering more zombie attention, and asks Sam exactly what you're carrying. In the manifest is an encryption key, which allows secure communication between settlements. Chris explains that, once a certain number of zombies gathers together, their moaning will attract others. He tells you to keep up the pace, given the number that are already following you.
Time For ScienceEdit
Sam tells Runner 10 that he'll need to use his skills to get rid of the zombies following them before they can make the rendezvous. Chris explains to you that zombies get confused when faced by two equidistant targets and travel along a path between the two, rather than heading for either one. He suggests using this to "funnel" the pack chasing you into a small gap between two buildings.
Making The SwapEdit
Sam is jubilant to see Chris's tactic work, which allowed you to take out the entire pack. Chris demurs, saying that he was just applying science. He then reveals that another reason he left New Canton was because they asked him to use his methods to make zombies attack other humans.
SAM YAO: Okay, Runner Five, special little assignment for you today. Nothing too taxing, but pretty damn important. You are taking our most valuable supplies to Red Settlement. So damn valuable, we send two of you to do it. Say hello, Chris McShell, Runner Ten!
CHRIS MCSHELL: Hello.
SAM YAO: …yeah, he’s quiet. But he knows what he’s doing. Go on, tell Runner Five how many zombies you’ve killed, Runner Ten.
CHRIS MCSHELL: I’d rather not talk about it.
SAM YAO: Yeah, yeah, yeah - just say the number.
CHRIS MCSHELL: It’s just that I noticed certain patterns in their movement, so I was able to position myself in such a way, that I could -
SAM YAO: Three hundred and eighty-three! Three hundred and eighty-three confirmed kills!
CHRIS MCSHELL: Three hundred and eighty-seven, actually. Last night, -
SAM YAO: He’s a machine. Total goddamn legend. So you’re in very safe hands today, Five, with our extremely valuable cargo. Now, it’s not diamonds, not gold, not even guns or fuel. What is it, Chris?
CHRIS MCSHELL: It’s five Pandora Haze brand USB 2.0 2 TB hard drives -
SAM YAO: It’s knowledge, Runner Five, knowledge! We’re doing a swap with Red Settlement. No internet anymore. Knowledge is the most valuable thing we have. So - raise the gates! [gate siren, gates raising ] Covering fire, [gunshots] and… run!
SAM YAO: We’ve got confirmation from Red Settlement that they’ve sent a runner out to meet you. This is how we do these swaps. No camp risks covering more than half the distance.
CHRIS MCSHELL: You know, in terms of zombie behavior, that doesn’t really make sense, because my research -
SAM YAO: Because what? Because you don’t get to kill enough of them, you big zombie killer?
CHRIS MCSHELL: Because my research indicates that zombies can detect when a group of humans are heading for the same area. It’s a sort of herd instinct. They swarm together, and they can tell when we’re swarming, too.
SAM YAO: So is that why you left New Canton, then? Too many people swarming together? Not enough opportunity for the zombie-killing action?
CHRIS MCSHELL: Sam, I left New Canton because they wouldn’t listen to reason, and wouldn’t let me conduct my research. That’s all. My research is all I’ve got left.
SAM YAO: Yeah, I know. I’m sorry, man. I just got carried away with all the excitement! [laughs] The thing is, Five, Runner Ten is sort of a genius!
CHRIS MCSHELL: Not really. What I’ve done is really very simple. Before the outbreak, I was a maths teacher. Statistics, mostly. I started out trying to do some statistical analysis of zombie movements, when my wife… Nothing happened to me worse than to anyone else. My wife was eaten on our front lawn, and our daughter… she’s ten, she was uh, she’d been on a scout camping trip. Couldn’t raise them by phone. I still don’t know what happened to her. She might still be alive! It’s not a worse story than average… statistically.
SAM YAO: Um… guys. You’ve picked up three zoms. Better pick up the pace.
CHRIS MCSHELL: Hmm, two more. Are we transporting anything else today, Sam? Any meat in the packs? My research shows that they do seem to hone in on meat smells, even though they don’t eat it.
SAM YAO: No. Here, let me have a look at my list. Janine left me a manifest here. [paper rustling] Yeah… five hard drives, containing what we think is a fairly complete version of Wikipedia, maps of most of Europe, five hundred survivalist books, the major canon of Western literature, music, movies, kids TV - they have a lot of kids at Red Settlement - and uh… ah! [laughs] The whole of Doctor Who from 1963 to the point when the entire cast was eaten by zombies. That’ll keep Red Settlement going. And one encryption key. Those do something important, but I’ve never quite worked out what.
CHRIS MCSHELL: Only way for us to communicate securely. Run to another settlement, bring the security key on a piece of paper. Hmm, nothing but paper and hard drives in the bags, though, that shouldn’t be attracting the zoms. But here they are. Another one, coming from the left. There’s critical mass, you know. Pack of ten, twelve zombies will automatically start to grow because they moan and attract others. This is, um… keep up the pace, Five.
SAM YAO: Okay, guys, you’re getting close to the meet with the Red Settlement runner.
CHRIS MCSHELL: We’re trailing a loose pack of ten zoms, Sam. We can’t bring those with us.
SAM YAO: Well, you better kill them all, then, Zombie Killer!
CHRIS MCSHELL: That’s not what I - ! Look, I just know how to herd them, that’s all.
SAM YAO: So, you know, work your magic!
CHRIS MCSHELL: [shouting] There’s no magic, just science! Um… hmm… okay, Five, here’s the thing to know about zombies: they have trouble with decision-making and prioritization. Unlike other carnivores, they don’t have the instinct to head for the weakest or slowest, they just go for whoever’s nearest. And if two prey are equidistant, they get confused. So, see those buildings we’re coming to, with a narrow passageway between them? You keep running at exactly the pace you are, and I’ll keep going at exactly the same pace, but heading away from you. They’ll slow down and start to funnel straight forward, through that narrow gap. Ready? Go!
[zombie groans, zombies being struck by weapons]
SAM YAO: Man, that was amazing! The way they just kept going forward because they couldn’t decide which one to head for! Incredible! And so you could get them individually, and they kept coming forward, because there was one of you on either side, and the way you took them all down, one after the other - bam! Hammer to the head, bam! Hockey stick to the cranium, bam!
CHRIS MCSHELL: It’s just application of the scientific method.
SAM YAO: The awesome method!
CHRIS MCSHELL: How far are we from the Red Settlement runner?
SAM YAO: Only about a K. You’ll make it easily. I can see why you wanted to leave New Canton now. If they didn’t let you work on your research, they were denying the awesome… Teach me everything you know. Be my sensei?
CHRIS MCSHELL: [laughs] Sure. That wasn’t the only reason I left, though. They thought I’d done enough research, and started asking whether I could make zombies target attacks on other humans.
SAM YAO: I, uh…
CHRIS MCSHELL: Oh, here’s the Red Settlement runner now. Get your backpack, Five, and we’ll make that swap. Good day’s work, everyone.
Runner 10's research becomes an important tool in dealing with the fast Zombies.
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