There are worse things than zoms in the post-apocalyptic world. Living people are capable of shocking savagery too - as you're about to find out.
A frosty Nadia is to guide you to the crisp factory to get electrical supplies.
Nadia tells you about how she and Lem met. Sam ears a gunshot.
Sam takes over from Nadia; she’d knowingly sent you into fatal Dedlock territory in revenge for tricking her into thinking Lem was alive.
Nadia tries to backtrack after learning Lem gifted you his headset, but Sam is furious as he guides you out of Dedlock territory.
Just A Spot Of Murder
Sam is furious and warns you not to trust Archie. Archie is shocked at the revelation but remains amicable.
NADIA AL HANAKI: Okay, Runner Five. Straightforward mission today. You’ll be road running all the way. Should get to the industrial park in about ten minutes. There’s a factory we haven’t scavenged yet, used to be a food processing plant. Mostly crisps, with a lot of loose electronics. Who knows, you might even get a packet of crisps out of it. [crunching] Mm, sorry. Talking about food got me hungry.
Um, see that road sign ahead? No, okay, it’s fallen down. Well, you want to head west, towards Zebra Crossing. Runner Thirty-seven, Jim Franklin - I don’t think you’ve met him, um, bushy orange hair and a ‘tache? - he hates it when I eat when he’s on a run, says it’s like rubbing his face in it. He’s out with the zoms and I’m warm and safe. [laughs] But you don’t mind, do you, Runner Five? You don’t seem like someone who’s that fussed about manners.
Runner Thirteen, Eric! Watch your six! There’s a pack of fast zoms coming out of that silo behind you!
Sorry, Runner Five. I wouldn’t want you to think I wasn’t paying attention. It’s just there are three missions out in the field today. We’re a bigger outfit than Abel, so we have to run things differently here. I know what you Abel type used to say about us. Seems like you thought we were some kind of, I dunno, a cult crossed with a military dictatorship? Which is rich if you think about it. You all follow that Major of yours around like obedient little soldiers, and when Janine says “jump”…
But what am I doing, chattering on like this? You probably want to concentrate on the run, don’t you? Especially those three zombies shambling in from underneath that footbridge? I’ll leave you to outrun them in peace. Try to make for the level crossing.
NADIA AL HANAKI: You still with me, Runner Five? Don’t worry about that amusement arcade up ahead. I know it looks dodgy as hell, but it’s clear of zoms. And you’re getting close to the industrial park now.
“From each according to her ability, to each according to her needs.” You ever heard that? It’s what Karl Marx used to say. Funny, that stuff wasn’t too popular before Day Zero, was it? Collectivism, socialism. They were about as fashionable as bell bottoms and digital watches. But suddenly it all makes sense. [snorts] Not digital watches, obviously. Those will always be stupid. But pulling together, looking out for each other. If we can’t do that, there’s no hope for us. That’s what New Canton’s all about.
Lem understood that. You remember Lem, New Canton runner? He died, you took his headset, pretended to be him. Made me think he was still alive. Lem never saw a problem he didn’t try to solve. He just couldn’t leave it to someone else. It wasn’t in his nature.
See, that’s how we met. I’d heard about New Canton, used the last of the petrol to head down here. Only my van broke down, right in the middle of a horde of zoms. I hid in the back, locked the door, and waited for them to tear through the metal. I’d seen it happen enough times. Then the get through. No one was going to rescue me, were they? It was suicide. Didn’t stop Lem. He’d seen me lock myself in the back. Came along, cool as a cucumber. Led all those zoms away.
I was hysterical by then. I’m not a panicker, not usually. But that - hearing them out there, banging on the van. Not being able to see, knowing there was nothing I could do, not even a gun so I could take the easy way out. Until I heard Lem’s voice, I thought I was going to die there. I was smitten right there, practically threw myself at him.
But you know what? He kept his distance for months. Said I was just grateful, I shouldn’t confuse it for real feelings and he wasn’t going to take advantage. That’s the kind of guy he was. And now he’s dead. And for weeks and weeks, you let me think he was still alive, running around wearing his headset like it was a joke. And you are alive, Runner Five. You’re still alive, and I just can’t figure out how that’s fair.
Well, this is the industrial park now. Head for that big brown building with the skylights. The crisp factory is to the left.
SAM YAO: Runner Five! I can see you on my cameras, what the hell are you doing there? Never mind, never mind, just get out, no time for talking - run!
SAM YAO: In case you didn’t know, Runner Five, those guys shooting at you - the ones in yellow T-shirts with “How Can I Help Today” written on them - yeah, they’re the Dedlocks. Careful, sniper to your left! [gunshot] Now I come to think of it, you haven’t met Dedlocks before, have you, Five? Because Abel Township always keeps its runners clear of them.
All the roads in the new town to the south of here are named after Dickens characters. That lot chasing you worked in the toy shop on Dedlock Avenue before it went pear-shaped. After that, it all went a bit Hunger Games. Everyone knows to steer clear of Dedlocks territory, and that they’ve been moving east, into the factory district. Isn’t that right, Nadia?
NADIA AL HANAKI: No! Of course I didn’t know that, how could I?
SAM YAO: Don’t lie to me! Intel about the factories went out on Rofflenet a week ago! We’re supposed to protect the runners, that’s our job! You sent Runner Five here to die!
NADIA AL HANAKI: What if I did? You shouldn’t have let me think Lem was still alive. You should never have let me think that!
SAM YAO: Grow up! We’ve all lost someone, everyone has! That’s the - that’s the world now, that’s just the way it is! What gives you the right to - Uh, dammit! I’m losing sight of you, Five, but they’re all around. See that building straight ahead, the one with all the broken windows? Go inside, it’s the only chance. Hurry, run!
NADIA AL HANAKI: Runner Five? Runner Five, can you hear me? Look, I was just playing a little joke on you.
SAM YAO: “Haha, you’re dead, Runner Five!” Very funny… not! Not funny, not a joke! Just listen to my voice, Runner Five.
NADIA AL HANAKI: Maybe it got a little out of hand. But I wasn’t trying to… I just wanted you to see what it was like, not being able to trust what I saw or heard. We rely on trust out here! You used that against me.
SAM YAO: Runner Five, I’ve got no cameras inside. If you can hear me, then well, you know, shout. … No, I guess not.
NADIA AL HANAKI: I think that last sniper shot -
SAM YAO: Runner Five is fine! The building must be… it must be blocking the broadcast.
NADIA AL HANAKI: You know, I never said the park was safe. If Runner Five had kept an eye out -
SAM YAO: So what do you think would have happened if an Abel runner died and a New Canton runner found their headset? You think they would have just left it there?
NADIA AL HANAKI: They wouldn’t have pretended - !
SAM YAO: They would! You know they would! Anyway, Lem gave Runner Five the headset, I heard him! He wanted Abel to have it, but you don’t care what he wanted!
NADIA AL HANAKI: He… is that true?
SAM YAO: Yes. You never bothered to ask, did you? You know what, I think you should just stop talking now. Runner Five, if you can hear me, ignore Nadia. Just head for the exit due north. The Dedlocks don’t seem to know about that one, and uh… [creak of a large door opening] Yes! Runner Five, I see you! But you’re surrounded. Um, just… just run!
SAM YAO: Hey, Five! What did you find in there, some… what are those? Giant crisp-spraying nozzles or something? That’s… that’s really great work!
ARCHIE JENSEN: Hey, Runner Five! Over here!
SAM YAO: Careful, Five, she might be in on it.
ARCHIE JENSEN: I heard that! In on what?
SAM YAO: Oh, you know, nothing major, just your friend Nadia trying a spot of murder.
ARCHIE JENSEN: I am not in on anything! I was on a nice peaceful run going to check out another one of those weird empty campsites. You know those campsites, with all the clove hitch knots? Anyway, I saw Runner Five heading into the factory area, and I thought, “That’s stupid.” We all heard a week ago that the Dedlocks had moved in there, and … wait. Nadia tried to kill Runner Five? I know she was angry about Lem, but… no, she didn’t.
SAM YAO: She did.
ARCHIE JENSEN: Well, obviously, she didn’t succeed, so that’s alright, isn’t it? Um, all friends again?
SAM YAO: What?
ARCHIE JENSEN: Bygones can be bygones, old wounds under the bridge over troubled water? This way, Runner Five. Don’t worry about this stream, it’s not as dirty as it looks, although… is that a foot? Never mind, just ignore it and keep running. The Dedlocks don’t know about his route. Lem found it, actually.
SAM YAO: Yeah, Saint Lem?
ARCHIE JENSEN: He was a very nice man! And he saved Nadia’s life.
SAM YAO: So what? If it wasn’t for the Major, I wouldn’t be here either.
ARCHIE JENSEN: Exactly! And what would you do if she asked you -
SAM YAO: I wouldn’t murder someone!
ARCHIE JENSEN: No, well, this is not so nice, it is true.
SAM YAO: It’s time to say goodbye to Archie, Five. I’m not leaving you in New Canton, not after that. You need to come back to Abel. We’ll find space, even if it means you’ve got to sleep with Janine. Well, not “sleep” sleep… You know what, it doesn’t matter. Just come home, Runner Five.