The Dead Way Home


matthew_icon.jpg tavio_icon.jpg pei-pei_icon.jpg gayle_icon.jpg

Scene Title The Dead Way Home
Synopsis After a long and dangerous journey, Matthew, Tavio, Gayle, Pei-Pei and their companions reach Ashley's MANSION?!? There they see another side of the townsfolk and start separating for their own little missions at Matthew's behest..

When we last left our heroes, they were pressed up swerved against a rock and a hard place, or rather, some barbed wire and a massive amounts of zombies. Gayle watches with horror as Matthew and Tavio head outside as she purses her lips and looks towards Pei-Pei.

"Open your window and cover them. That many zombies is too much even for those two!"

Yes, she's worried. Oh so very worried especially since the rest of the group is in the relative safety of the military grade humvee and the two boys are stuck outside.

The shambling hordes continue to shamble. They head towards Tavio, circling him and Matthew. Someone needs to give them more cover as well.

Matthew can't worry about the horde, he simply can't. The Humvee must get through and everyone must get on the other side of that fence or else being swarmed is simply going to happen. As such he trusts in his companions to keep the zombies off him, moving to the barbed wire fence and reaching out for it. Hands curling into the barrier as he lifts, lifts lifts lifts the entire thing over his head. It should be enough for the Humvee to get through, although it's likely to be hell for the paint job upon the top.

The complacency with which Tavio had begun to approach zombie-bashing suffers a steady erosion proportional to their increasingly overwhelming numbers. A baseball bat with sharp bits stuck in just isn't going to cut it. By now it's so thick with crusted gunk that all the edges are blunted and the weight of accumulated filth is making it a trifle unwieldy.

"Yo!" he calls, an edge of desperation in his voice, "Somebody load me up a shotgun!" Shotguns are the natural enemies of the zombie. They are the essential mechanism in a giblet factory. At this range accuracy is a nonissue. The only thing he's not considering, which a cooler head within the shelter of the humvee might, is that the noise would only worsen his predicament. For the first time since things took this surreal turn he's begun to question his own teenaged delusions of invincibility. That compromise may be what's kept him alive as things steadily worsen though. He's not treating it like a game anymore.

Pei-Pei flails. The optimum firing position is through the moon roof, not hanging out her window. She does, however, pull both of her NES guns and uses one's pistol butt to roll down her window while she starts lining up her first shot with the other gun. This is, very clearly, not her preferred methodology - just look at the grimace on her face - and yet she is carrying through because it is the only method left available to her…

Y'know. Other than letting two friends die horrible, zombie related deaths. Naturally that is a completely unacceptable situation. She would never be able to go back on the Internet if she failed to kill zombies. /ZOMBIES/.

Window down, Pei-Pei opens fire with one laser pistol. Fortunately for everyone, lasers are like farts. They are silent, but deadly. Odds are also good that Pei-Pei may already be trying to figure out how to make a laser shotgun of some kind. After all, zombies are shotgun weak and everything ever is laser weak, clearly this is the perfect marriage of death and destruction.

And now, please enjoy our pointless sound effect interlude:


Matthew keeps that fence lifted even while Pei Pei impersonates an X-Wing on crack. One presumes Gayle does in fact drive forward! A general screeching of metal on metal as barbed wires drags along the top of the hummer like a thousand fingernails on a thousand chalkboards. Then it's through and Matthew his jerking his head for Tavio to get onto the other side as well before he is shifting that way himself letting the fence drop to the ground behind him, catching a few zombies in spools of barbed wire as it drops and leaving them trapped rawring and flailing away trapped.

Pei-Pei keeps shooting lasers at zombies. Once the moon roof is clear of the barbed wire though, she suddenly unbuckles and swings around her seat to stand up and start firing out the moon roof. She is totally pulling some ridiculous The Matrix BS with her two gun style, but she's doing her gosh darned best to shoot separately with each gun.

On the other hand, there are so damn many zombies around that she could probably just hold down the triggers and swing the gun around to carve through the undead hordes and not even bother with trying to improve her skills. That would, of course, put Matthew and Tavio in undue danger though. It would also prevent her from pulling a Princess Leia and looking like a SPACE SHE-RAMBO BADASS!

Well, okay. She doesn't look like a badass, but she does look like SPACE SHE-RAMBO.

Around the time Tavio begins to realize he's not getting a shotgun, silent beams of burny death are streaming from the windows of the humvee and he's quick to decide that's even better. Emboldened by this development, he sets to his task with renewed vigor, heedless of the gore steadily coming to adorn his latest change of clothes, or the way lapses in his guard have resulted in his clothes being torn. Luckily his flesh remains undamaged, unless one counts his being absolutely filthy.

The moment he hears the engine rev he starts to backpedal, swatting aside lunging corpses and finishing off the ones that fall beneath his heel with brutal stomping, until he measures his progress by each step he takes on pavement that isn't slick with gore. At the last, there's a muffled crack, and the filth-caked end of his bat goes spiralling over the oncoming horde to leave him holding a splintered stub. With a shrug, he drives this into the nearest rheumy eye socket and then throws one last punch to give himself room to turn and bolt.

He dives once the way is clear, rolling onto safe ground and shielding his eyes as the barbed wire comes back down. He makes his way woozily to his feet, shaking his head to clear it.

"Go, girl!" he cheers the princess with her mad strafing skills, permitting himself a chuckle and a triumphant whoop once it looks like they're safe. His definition of 'safe' is rather generous at the moment, its only criteria being how many deep breaths he can take without having to fend off a dead person.

Matthew avoids Pei-Pei's line of fire even while he clambers back up the Hum-Vee to take his place atop it once again, hands working back and forth as he grimaces. No zombie slaying for him! Lots of them are already dead! Instead he simply gets himself into position once more for Gayle to begin to drive them forward, "We probably shouldn't linger too long. The noise of the fight is only going to draw more. We don't want fifty becoming five hundred or something."

Only once Matthew's head peeks over the top of the humvee does Pei-Pei stop firing. Even then, she only stops firing long enough to drop back into her seat and lean out her still open window. Tavio is probably going to want to climb the hummer in short order because Pei-Pei does not look ready to stop providing coverfire.

Maybe - just maybe - it wasn't such a good idea to let her retain both NES guns.

Tavio hauls himself back up onto the top of the humvee looking like something the cat dragged through a gutter backed up with mung, lamenting as he climbs back to his spot about getting the only clean part of the vehicle dirty. As he gets to his feet with a sigh, he looks over at Matthew.

"You alright, man?" he asks, taking into account that while he was yukking it up with the locals ol' Matt was holding onto barbed wire. That can't have been comfortable.

"With any luck, we should be close to whoever set up this barricade in the first place. And if we don't run out after that, they won't shoot at us for coming through it."

The shambling hordes do move towards the barbed wire, but considering none of them are really super strong, they can't exactly pass through. Instead, they aimlessly just reach through the little gaps, letting out a soft groan every now and then while the humvee drives away.

There's a phew sound from all of the passengers. If this was a manga, surely Gayle would have a giant sweatdrop on her forehead right now and she looks and puts the breaks on the car to make sure everyone is all right.

"Matthew, Tavio, Pei.. you guys allright?" she says, scrunching her nose once more. "Sorry, I uh…I panicked.." she admits ruefully with a little grump, her mind stillon other things, like the unconscious would-be rapist in their car. She forces a smile onto her lips and smiles brightly towards her BFFs though and nods, "You guys did great though." she says, wiping the sweat from her brow before she looks around.

Odd. There's absolutely no shambling dead around. Perhaps the barbed wire keeping the zombies out are a good thing. They continue to drive for a while with Ashley giving directions until they see arather large complex. It's as big as the high school really. It's a mansion of some sort with peoplecoming in and out when there's a person in a paramilitary outfit stopping the group with the humvee.

"HALT!" the militia man says putting a hand out towards the group. "Who are you?!?"

Matthew lounges on top of the vehicle, so much as one can lounge on a vehicle in motion. Lifting snowplows, lifting fences, Matthew is tired! Still he gives a friendly sort of wave to the militia man and he calls in through the moon roof, "Uh. Ashley. You probably want to do the talking for us here and make all the introductions. You said your parents ran this whole outfit right? They've probably been all kinds of worried about you." Looking through over to Gayle he says, "Uh. A bit bruised up. I'll be fine though, that fence was just made to be really spikey and dangerous and nasty."

Pei-Pei buckles into her seat once she can no longer see/hear zombies. She sets her guns down on her lap and leaves them to both cool and recharge, the Yellow Princess' desire to cast Holy upon the undead hordes momentarily sated. Quietly she tries to meditate for the few minutes it takes to reach the compound and an angry militiaman.

"'m good," Tavio replies casually, grinning broadly enough to show teeth that are startlingly white when contrasted to the mess of the rest of him. Like Pigpen in a slaughterhouse. He hunkers down atop the humvee, raising a hand to wave to the guard in a decidedly non-zombielike fashion.

Ashley starts squeezing through as she pops her head out from the little moon roof/sun roof thing on the humvee. She smiles cheerily and gives a friendly wave towards the guard before he lets out a meep. It would be bad to turn awaythe daughter of the big boss man afterall. And so with an armed escort, the humvee gets led to a rather fantastical mansion. It's the size of the school, with many survivors hiding up. It's almost like a fortress really, which could be a good or not a good thing depending on where you look at things.

After passing through the thick metal gate, Gayle drives the humvee to a stop where they can see various busses of people. Armed militia men taking a group of specialists in and our. Why are they leaving the safety of the area? What's going on? She just looks confused and helps people out before motioning for the others to get on out aswell.

As they leave the car, a rather statuesque woman in a long woolen peacoat heads out of themain building to arrive them. She smiles at Ashley and Albert, knowing the two of them for quite sometime as she smiles brightly. "So, these are your new companions! Please rest, eat and relax. Let us adults take care of things for a while."she says, motioning them towards the dining room where there's a buffet all ready.

Matthew eyes Ashley's mom, given it seems increasingly unlikely he is going to get anywhere with Ashley the jock must consider all possible alternatives, of course. "Uhh.." Matthew says gesturing to himself and his very bloody attire, "I don't suppose you have anywhere I could wash up and get a change of clothes before we eat? I'm looking kind of a mess." And so he is, after zombie plowing through earlier there is much with the blood splattering. "Fatigues are fine if they are what you have, you have to have a lot of them." He further offers. Yes.

Ashley's mom, has got it going on…

"… Um. What's… Wh-What's going on?"

Pei-Pei looks utterly confused by the scenery, particularly militia men getting ready to move out of the safety of the mansion-fortress. She pauses a moment, mouths the word 'medieval' to Gayle since there is an Ashley bust taking up the moon roof/sun roof thing-a-ma-jiggly - I mean jigger. Thing-a-ma-jigger. Not jiggly.

"… How… How did you know she had new- How did you even know about us?"

Confused Pei-Pei is confused. She flicks her eyes from Ashley toward Ashley's mom. In the process, she feels her boob envy start to bubble up toward the surface again. No doubt suppressing it will require an act of will.

"Yeah," Tavio chimes in after Matthew, "You really don't want us trackin' this into the house or nuthin'. I bet zombie's a bitch to clean outta the carpet-" he catches himself swearing in front of someone's momma and moves to cover his mouth. He stops just short of that, realizing that his hands are as nasty as the rest of him right now, but he does manage a contrite face and a sheepish shrug. "We don' need nuthin' fancy, just…" he trails off, his attention belatedly snagged by other concerns. For one, it's clear where Ashley gets her hotness from. For another, it seems to him that any time someone says to let adults handle something, it ends badly. He exchanges furtive glances with the others. He isn't thinking hard enough to be wondering about how/if they were expected because there's something ugly and uncomfortable climbing his spine at the thought of being trapped here.

"Whatever you do," he murmurs to his posse, defaulting to wisdom imparted by and quoted from his momma, "don't drink the kool aid."

"I didn't know about you. It was a simple conjecture considering that my daughter's head popped out of the military grade humvee that you are in. But thank you for keeping my daughter and Albert safe. I am sure you are all working together to try to do things." she says brightly with a warm and cheery smile before letting out a soft chuckle of amusement at Tavio. "Don't worry, we don't have any Kool Aid. I'm diabetic." Ashley's mother replies with a cheery smile.

"And pshaw, no need for military fatigues. I know that we still have several unopened presents that we were going to give from Abercrombie and Fitch around. We should have something in your sizes." she says, looking the pair over before calling for a manservant to get them clothes.

The rest of the group heads in, and those who need medical attention are brought under some other nurses who were also saved. Still, there's more people heading out of the controlled area as several specialists in full unifroms go to make sure that the electricity and water in the town are still running.

Ashley goes to talk with her mother quietly and they head off, leaving the quartet by themselves once more. Gayle heads on over towards the other three, scrunching her nose as she takes a deep breath. "This is… surreal. Almost David Koresh like."

Matthew quickly manages to get washed down and slipped into some new clothes. He would look like an Abercrombie ad, except he is in fact wearing their clothes. Sad. That can only hinder his girl getting potential. He gives Gayle a frankly puzzled look, "People actually working together, preparing for an emergency, and maintaining society even in the midst of a crisis is David Koresh like? These are the first sane people we've met and thank goodness the town has them. We were worried about a safe place for refugees to go and thinking about the mall? The safe place is here, behind a lot of barbed wire and a lot of people who know what they're doing."

Pei-Pei seems as vaguely nervous as Gayle does at being inside of the McMansion. She keeps her NES guns hidden for the moment, shifting uneasily from foot to foot as she "huddles" with the other Scions. Her eyes keep shifting slyly toward Ashley and her mom, though who knows why exactly she is looking at them so often.

"This place is huge, Matt. They're ridiculously well-prepared. They're up to something too to boot. This isn't normal, even if it is really good that they're this well-prepared for something like this."

Tavio gives Ashley's mom a weak grin and chuckles at her joke, grimacing once his back his turned. Inside voice, Tavio. Inside voice. He's quick to follow Matthew's example, coming back freshly scrubbed, in his second change of clothes today, and in a much better state of mind.

"Man, this place even has bidets in the bathrooms," he says, "They ain't playin' around.

"Anyway, don't get me wrong, this is great an' all. I'm just speakin' for me here and I ain't never trusted anything seemed too good to be true. We been under quarantine for how long and they already had the barbed wire and stuff? Did you see any bodies on the way in, any signs they were fighting. I didn't think to look, I was trying too hard not to smell myself." Heedless of propriety he gives his armpit a sniff and nods, satisfied. He may have taken advantage of the toiletries available to pretty himself up a bit. Vain Tavio is vain.

"Don't pin too much on what I say tho'. I ain't good at trustin' adults in power." It's true, he's a wee bit disruptive in class on a normal day. "I could jus' be on the crazy. It ain't just me though." He looks meaningfully to the girls who are, in every way that matters in a practical sense, generally not 'on the crazy'.

"What bothers me is the "let the adults handle things now". What did she mean by that?"

Gayle sounds a little worried as she keeps her tones hushed as she peers around and takes a deep breath, just trying to find her zen and her calm while remaining close to her BFFs. She slowly chews on her bottom lip out of nervous habit and runs her fingers through her hair. She looks on over, and it seems there are people taking out the weapons from the humvee now. Wah! She flails a little and points.

"Guys, they're taking our things. I mean not our things, but what if we need those things?"

Matthew looks out the window and he says, "Right. I'm all for them being prepared, but not for what is taking what is ours. We don't have to allow that and we're not going to. Let's head back out there. Keep our heads. Polite but firm. Our weapons and our supplies and while they are welcome to ask they aren't welcome to take." Snagging a chicken wing on the way out he reluctantly leaves the buffet behind to head towards the door once more.

And now you all know why Pei-Pei carries a mystical, magical messenger bag full of mysteries. She remains quiet for the moment, moving to follow Matthew if everyone else is going to be headed in that direction. While she does so, Pei-Pei unzips her messenger bag and quickly rifles through it. It is still packed with medical supplies and a handful of hand tools - largely of the mechanic's variety - along with some much more random odds and ends.

No guns or more improvisational defensive gear though, which may be why she is following Matthew for the moment. Well, that and Gayle is upset that they may yet need the gear they packed into the hummer. Pei-Pei can't entirely blame her BFF for such an opinion, you never know what might pop up that needs improvisation on someone's part and parts with which to improvise.

"We don't actually own any of that stuff," Tavio points out as the sinking realization dawns upon him. "Do we really want to get into a debate over stolen property with people who actually live here and might, like, represent authority? It's not about who's right, it's about who has the most guns. That's them. We were screwed the moment we came here."

His fertile, if poorly seeded imagination has already plotted a course from the metaphorical frying pan to the fire and bitter pessimism he keeps under a tarp and fenced in with a sign that says 'Beware Of The Leopard' has gained a foothold in his thoughts with the exhausting travails of the day wearing down his resistance.

"I'mma be real surprised if they show us the least little bit of respect, but we can go ahead and get this part over with. Suits me better than playing along like a sheep anyways, just to have it all out in the open."

It seems like there was already someone who scrambled on over to try to protect the weapons they did have. Cowering over the guns as the others are trying to take them away is the fat chunky Albert, whining as he shakes his head. "NOOO! YOu can't have them!" he says, yelling at the adults who are trying to get in the way.

"What is a fat kid like you needing these things for? Just know that we'll do things better with it than you. We know how to use guns.." and they start tugging awaythe rifles that Albert is clinging onto for dear life.

Gayle's eyes widen as she looks towards the rest of the group. She just stands there stunned for now as she looks towards theothers. "I told you so!"

"Tough times" Matthew says to Tavio, "We owed these people every bit of courtesy and they deserved it, but you let people start stealing from you and walking all over you and they'll never stop." Advancing towards the Humvee he calls out, "Stop that and leave him alone. We came here as guests, and to return Ashley to her parents so she could make sure that they were safe and well. We didn't invite you to our property or to manhandle our people and we aren't making the invite now. Albert, can you see everything that they were tyring to take out gets loaded back in? We'll be checking on your parents next."

Pei-Pei peeks out from behind Matthew at the adults hassling Albert. She frowns at them, as though she were some great and terrible goddess of destruction. Fortunately for everyone involved, Pei-Pei is not one of Kali's kids. Also, it is probably fortunate that the adults don't know she's not a goddess of destruction.

"Y-Yeah. We k-kinda need th-that stuff still. We'll, y'know, gi-give it back wh-when we're d-done!"

"Yeah, well I ain't plannin' to let 'em start," Tavio asserts, picking up the pace with a quietly building aggression evident in every nuance of his posture. The key difference here is that while Matthew intends to approach the matter reasonably and diplomatically, Tavio has less rational notions in mind. This would likely be no surprise. His lack of faith in that possibility is so deeply ingrained that it never would've occurred to him to try it. By the time he's close enough to hear the condescension with which the militia regard someone he was thinking of as one of them, there's only one thing that keeps him from making a royal mess of everything.

The sheer audacity of Lugh's Scion renders the hot-tempered son of Huitzilopochtli utterly speechless and neatly distracts him from his mounting fury. He stares, slackjawed, for just a moment before composing himself so as to back up this play, doomed or not.

"Yeah," he ventures, choosing words as carefully as the pressure cooker of his temper will allow. "We salvaged that stuff for our mission. Thanks and everything, but we can't stick around. You guys are doin' a great job here, by the way. Uh…It's just, we're a team, yo. He's our expert." He points to Albert. "An' it ain't his fault, it's his glands. Homeboy can shoot, yo." He has no proof of this, and no idea if it's true, but it doesn't matter either way.

The adults start laughing as Albert continues to flail about like the gun otaku he is.He starts whining ashe still won't let go. He grumbles and flails. "Please! I need this!" he says firmly and resolutely, looking backtowards the adults.

"You kids can just relax. Let us adults handle everything." says one of the grown men who plucks the gun out from Albert's chubby grasp before he mutters to his companion. "Look at the kids, so cute, but they should know they can't handle these things. A real man is what can handle these things." he says firmly and resolutely ashe looks back to Matthew, Tavio, Pei and Gayle.

For now, Gayle remains just standing there.Her eyes widening as her fists clench, her knuckles going white from just how tightly she's balling her fists.

Matthew steps forward a little more, his expression hardening, "Guns? Real men don't need guns. Now.. if you guys want to prove you actually have some balls one of you will step into the ring against me or my buddy over here and go a few rounds. We'll show you we can handle ourselves. But if you really want to make it a girls sport.." He looks over at his companions and gives a snort, gesturing to Pei Pei, "I'll bet you even the nerdy girl can take out a target faster than one of your guys. So what's it going to be? You got the balls and the honor to take one of us on in a proper setting, or are you going to have to explain to Ashley's parents why and how you got in a fight with a bunch of kids right outside their front door.. and got your asses kicked."

Eep! Matthew steps forward, leaving Pei-Pei partially exposed. And then he suggests that the adults have some kind of target destruction contest with her. She pales slightly and attempts to duck behind Tavio now, since he is closer than Gayle and not quite as close to the adults as Matthew.

Tavio is percolating with eagerness to throw down, the weary slouch uncurling from his spine as Matthew offers the challenge. His eyes shine with a savage glee and he grins widely as he makes a beckoning motion toward the assembled adults. Oh yes! Please! Prettyprettyplease somebody start something he can finish. "You questionin' my manhood, you come here an' try your shit. I got som'in' for ya."

He probably should've kept quiet. As it is, he settles back to sneer, so completely enamored of the idea that he can't really think of much else. At least, until somewhere around the middle when he calms down for just long enough to murmuer reassuringly to Pei, "He didn't mean that." Her nerdiness is an elephant in the room quite comfortably hidden under a lampshade, and he sees no reason to stop pretending otherwise.

"No! I need them! That's theonly way I can protect Ashley!" Albert whines the entire tmie. "The only way I can protect the daughter of the commander." he continues to grumble.

The adults just blink as Matthew and Tavio seem the belligerent type. They start to back up and let out a harumph, trying to keep their pride as it seems Matthew and Tavio can probably throw down. They were covered in lotsof zombie bits earlier as they grumble and nod, tossing the rifles back on the ground which Albert scrambles for. "Whatever punks, we'll get the commander and he'll straighten things out." And with that they're off.

Albert scrambles for the guns, sighing softly as he bows his head and looks towards Matthew and Tavio. "Thank you so much. So so so so much.." he continues before they're suddenly interrupted by Ashley.

"Can you guys follow me up the stairs? I want to speak with all of you." she says firmly and resolutely. She doesn't look to happy, at all.

And Gayle just blinks for a few moments confused before she nods and looks out towards Pei-Pei. "I guess we should go then.."

And up the stairs to the balcony of the mansion they go. Tra-la-la.

Matthew focuses his attention on Albert and he says, "They try that again. Don't throw down. They're a lot better armed and they'll be in a foul mood. Anything else happens? You come find us, or you yell." Then.. hey.. it is time to oggle Ashley again! This he cheerfully does for a moment however unhappy she might be before he is following along as well after her. "You don't look too happy to be home" he says as he quickly moves up to get close to her personal space, "Problems with the parents?

Pei-Pei looks mildly cheered by Tavio's reassurances. She also looks tremendously happy when the adults leave the guns and go to get the boss… Who is apparently Ashley's father. That isn't surprising, Pei was prepared for that much earlier in the trip, but it still sounds fishy to hear her father referred to as 'The Commander'.

Notably, Pei-Pei mouths her puzzlement at 'The Commander' to Gayle. Pei-Pei doesn't speak up though, following her BFF and Busty LaRue up the stairs toward the balcony. She does, however, keep on her guard because this whole place is suspicious and weird. Maybe Pei-Pei just hasn't had sufficient exposure to high society though.

When Matthew falls in like a loyal puppy, she sighs and rolls her eyes. Pei-Pei probably should have seen that one coming, but somehow she didn't quite expect it to happen. She continues to follow along, slightly on edge, and tries to keep somewhere between Matt and Tavio. They are manly men and thus excellent hard cover. If you'll pardon the expression.

It takes Tavio a moment to realize what's just happened, but when he does he throws his hand in the air, pointing forcefully at the departing militiamen, gesturing wildly in such a way as to make sure they know they are punk-ass bitches. He has just enough sense not to spell it out for them verbally, but he's bouncing in place and savoring the momentary triumph with the vigorous glee of someone who knows, deep down, that the time is drawing nigh to count every victory he and his friends can get while the state of things declines even further around them.

He makes a leap of assumption based on the last time he saw a face like the one Ashley's making, and gives worried looks to the other three, trying in vain to warn Matthew away from getting cozy with their hostess. He has a bad feeling about why she's so unhappy.

Albert nods as he smiles brightly towards Matthew and Tavio, most definitely appreciative before he follows the rest of the group.

As Ashley is asked the question, she shrugs her shoulders and takes a deep breath. "Somewhat. Just a little..I had issues to deal with. I'm just annoyed that they didn't look for me. Instead, they had this perfect little setup. No, daddy couldn't save his little girl, the apple of his eye. But of course, my parents are the best. Even when something unexpected happened, they took action right away and protected their mansion and staff! They didn't think I survived, so they gave up immediately!" she grumps, crossing her armsover her chest as she leads them into the mansion proper.

The big mansion is big! There's lots of stairways, servants, both civil and manservants who help around with Ashley's family, and lots of people taking shelter in the mansion-cum-fortress. After reaching the east wing of the area, they nhead up the stairs. Lots of stairs. And when they're finally on the FOURTH floor of the building, they headinto Ashley's room which is pink. Oh so very pink. Eye blindingly pink. She's daddy's little girl afterall and she soon nheadsout towards the balcony where there are a set of lounge chairs.

From there, she points at the crowd below working normally. There's people setting up supplies. People working on fixing things around the mansion. It's almost like asif whatever happened to the rest of the city isn't being felt here. Not too far, just a few blocks outside the protection of the barbed wire is a lot of zombies. They are gathering every day and there's lots of pieces of dead bodies, wandering dead bodies and people running for their very lives.

When Albert looks out, he swallows a bit nervously though and blinks. "We should be able to survive though! We're in this fortress mansion with supplies and the adults to protect us and yeah. Ashley's parents are the best!" he says with an excited fist pump.

Gayle has been quiet all this time, just watching. Observing. Things are weird. Very weird. She has her BFF's discomfort and she finally speaks up after being quiet for a while. "No. I don't want to stay. Guys, I think we need to leave right away."

Matthew reaches out to rest a hand on Ashley's shoulder, giving it a quick and reassuring squeeze. "I'm sorry. I don't.. hopefully one of those teams they have going out would have been looking for you." It's the best reassurance he has to offer. Glancing towards Gayle he says, "It was never our plan to stay. Albert still needs to check on his parents and he'd never make it alone. We'll go and help him fine them, they run the local historical museum so hopefully they will have some better idea just what started this whole zombie invasion thing going. What sin the people of this place committed in the past. Not that uh.. you have to come with us Albert. If you want to stay where it is safe and comfortable I'm sure we'll understand."

The Jock rolls his shoulders and asks Ashley, "What about you. Your parents want to keep you in a cage and they don't seem to think much of your ability to survive out there. We could use you as a local guide and use your brains, you don't want to stick around this place you don't have to."

If Pei-Pei didn't know what Matthew was doing, she would probably be thoroughly incensed by the notion that the team needs Ashley for her brains. She frownies at Matthew anyhow, but quickly forgets about it as she leans up against the balcony's railing. For the moment, Pei-Pei just stares out over the manicured McMansion landscape and what little of the suburban surroundings she can see.

When Tavio's suspicions prove to be unfounded he relaxes considerably. Ashley is still on their side, and that's good for lots of reasons.

"Who else do you think we can get to go with us? We can leave the biker dude with these people, since they want to be all grownup and handle things. We have…uh…whatsername, the hot chick with the sword." He's a bit embarrassed to have forgotten her name, but since she was over helping the nurse and he was playing outrider for the group, there haven't been many occasions to get acquainted. "Y'think she'll want to come along? And the nurse, although really she's probably better off here. These people may be wacko, but they're still people." He crosses his arms and looks out at the chaos just beyond the barbed wire perimeter, shaking his head. He's quick to tag on a "No offense," to Ashley, so that she doesn't get mad enough to punish Matthew for guilt by association.

"Well, it's not just that. They're sending people, specialists to go out and go service the water and electricity around here. The news we saw back in the other apartment? They're keeping things from the people. The specialists and maintenance workers aren't fighters and with each passing hour, there's more of 'them' out there. The workers will want to be with their families without proper protection and soon, this whole town will be screwed." Gayle says firmly and resolutely. She's been analyzing thingsin her head as well. She watches. She processes. And it takes a bit of time, but eventually, she has her few moments where she shows that there's cognitive processes going on in that brain of hers. This is a rare moment. Surely pigs are starting to fly somewhere.

And as Gayle finishes her little bit of speechifying, Ashley nods in agreement and points down towards the courtyard area of the mansion. There's a huge caravan of vehicles coming in. There's a black SUV, an Escalade at the front. Then another escalade. Then another. Then another. Four more escalades and eventually there's a tow truck with a snarling zombie inside a cage.

The civilians inside the courtyard gasp at the sight. Ashley takes a deep breath, "The new law is here. My daddy." letting out a resigned sigh as the cars park.

Her father is a tall, handsome and muscular man in his fourties. Imagine Clive Owen really. He's that hot. He's that muscley. And he's that somber and stern. Of course a blessed woman like Ashley's mother would land a hunk like him, and he steps out of the last escalade as he starts gathering a crowd of people towards him. He pulls out an axe, already bloodied as he looks towards the creature inside the cage.

"This man's name is David Taro. He has been a friend to me for the last twenty five years! In attempting to rescue his fellow man, he was bitten. An act of noble self sacrifice and it is the most noble thing a person can hope to do! However, he is no longer human as he has become this abominable… thing.." he says pointing towards the staggering zombie inside the cage. The man that was once David Taro groans and moans to the people's gasps of fear.

"And so now, I will demonstrate my friendship." he says as he motions for one of his fellow henchmen to open the cage. There's another gasp as the creature escapes and with a powerful move of his own Clive Owen like body, Ashley's father quickly decapitates the zombie, leaving the bit of gore to a shocked audience.

"Farewell, dear friend.." and there's the squelching sound of his boot crushing the skull of the zombie as bits and pieces fly out. It was rather a gory sight.

Gayle mutters softly. "HOLY FUCK.." and she covers her mouth as she looks like she's going to gag.

Matthew looks at Gayle kind of like she has lost her mind at the exclamation, turning back to look at the display down below and he wryly admits, "Uh.. seems to me he's thinking along the same lines you are. That's a powerful lesson to the people here that out there isn't very safe and isn't to be taken lightly. Hard thing to learn, but it's probably going to save a lot of lives."

Turning to look at the others including Ashley he asks, "So what is our next stage? I'm reading a lot of freaky weird hate of these people from most of you for some reason, but if we really want to put a stop to things they've got a lot of resources and a lot of information about what is going on we don't. If we can convince that guy down there to help us, it might mean the difference between success and failure."

"I don't hate them," comes Pei-Pei's defensive reply, "I'm just… Y'know. There's something -off- here. I don't quite know how to explain it. Something just doesn't feel right to me, but I'm not quite sure what."

Pei-Pei offers an apologetic look to Ashley before looking back at Matthew. She fidgets a bit, rubbing the back of her head with one hand while the other fingers the zippers on her messenger bag for the time being. Her eyes shift from Matthew to each of the others on the balcony, considering them each in turn.

"I think we should learn what we can here, get some food, and then go looking for Albert's family. At the very least, the town archives might have records of what we need to know or clues to point us in the right direction."

"See," Tavio opines, pointing to the grim industry taking place both within the compound and without, "this is what happens when you drink the kool aid." He points toward the gate where the latest procession is just now returning from a jaunt from the city proper. Curiosity, and the implication of importance impressed upon him by the girls, have him leaning on the balcony rail to watch the show down on the ground.

He nearly gets distracted, because he is a boy and he's somewhere high and the innate curiosity as to what will happen if he drops bodily fluid of some sort into the bushes below. Since there are ladies present he rules out option B, but is still swishing saliva around in his mouth to try and work up a mighty loogie. He swallows his work in progress along with a steady dollop of metaphorical bile as the great hero of the new order delivers his show for the masses.

"Pfft, big fuckin' deal, I probably wiped out the entire class of um, 1986 or something, and this guy's a hero 'cos he waxes one zombie. That's some boolshit. I—"

He consults Gayle, leaning to one side to whisper, "I'm missing the point, aren't I?"

He clears his throat and addresses Matthew.

"Dude, it's not hate, it's reading the writing on the wall. You know I've got your back, but alls I'm gonna say is, we better have a backup plan for getting out of here when Ashley's dad puts us in lockdown."

He gives it a bit more thought, because he's on a balcony with nothing better to do and too many witnesses to pee off of it.

"We kinda struck out with those dudes from before, but maybe if we don't act like we're undermining his authority-maybe make him think it's his idea. Maybe imply he's better off sending us on our way. Man likes ta put on a show, so maybe we work that angle." He looks to Ashley with a shrug. Maybe she can shed light on that.

"Or should we just grab our shit and make a break for it? 'cos really, the writin' on this particular wall looks like it says 'no exit'."

"No hate. I am very appreciative that they have housed us, fed us and clothed you guys." Gayle says firmly and resolutely, not wanting to cause an argument from Ashley, the love of Matthew's story for the moment. She scrunches her noseand facepalms asshe looks towards Tavio and nods as she leans in next to him before patting his head gently and affectionately.

"It's all right. You did and didn't get the point in your own way." she chirps happily before offering him a friendly and completely platonic smooch on the cheek as she looks back towards Matthew. "But like they said, it just feels off.."

Before anything else can be said, Ashley speaks up. "It's all right. I can understand your discomfort. Daddy leads a militia. Militias make things uncomfortable, especially here in New York." she says matter of factly before she sighs and leans against Matthew. "I don't know what to do, but we may have to split up. Perhaps I should stay here with my parents.." she says with a slight frown. "And Albert, go with them to find your family, or you can stay here.."

Albert looks torn, but before he can say anything, the hunky Clive Owen speaks once more.

"This is the kind of thing that makes up our here and now!" he yells, raising his own axe into the air as he continues his speechifying. "Great friends, families, and lovers are becoming these.. "things", "them". For their own sakes, we must destroy them! If you wish to survive, fight!"

And with that, there's murmuring amongst the people. People are getting agitated by this message. That much is clear.

Matthew wraps his arm around Ashley long enough to give her a tight squeeze. She is the love of his story for the moment! Aww. "My mom is the NRA" Matthew explains to Ashley, "And that makes people uncomfortable too, New Yorkers never like guns or the people who use them. All this though? THe defensible compound? The food and supplies? It's a good thing." He thinks and says, "Maybe we should each do what we feel best then. I'll go down and talk to Ashley's father and see if maybe we can convince him to work with us, Ashley, if you'd come with me you could tell him some of the things you've seen us do and what a force we are against the zombies. It's pretty clear he respects strength, that isn't something we lack. Pei-Pei, if you have your pad maybe you can access their network? I bet they have one. All those teams have got to be sending in reports of what they're finding, maybe we can put together some kind of picture of what is going on out there. Tavio.. maybe you could get us some gasoline and food for the Humvee? See we're all stocked in case we have to leave in an instant?" That leaves.. Gayle! He looks to her, "And you're all sneaky. If they are hiding something maybe you could find it?"

Come on now, like Pei-Pei would lose her "X-9000" datapad from New Atlantis? She roots around in her magical non-Relic messenger bag of mystery for a few moments before producing the tantalizing tidbit of Atlantean technological triumph from within its mystical interior. The Yellow Princess powers it on and taps the 'Locate Local Network' icon on its screen.

"Good idea, Matt."

"I think this just got easier," Tavio muses, hearing out the Commander's speech with his face twisted into a thoughtful expression. He nods toward the ground, indicating the speech and the rousing of the rabble it seems to have incited.

"Looks like he doesn't want to sit on his hands neither, so maybe we can talk him into letting us go. That's gon' be all you," he affirms for Matthew. He knows his nerves are shot right now. Give him something straightforward and he's fine, but underneath the lackadaisical, indifferent facade he has all the patience and composure of a caged animal.

"I'll see what I can scrounge up," he affirms. If legitimate means aren't available, he isn't above pilfering and it certainly wouldn't be the first time. "And I'll be quick. We still gotta try and find a way to stop all this." Unless somebody points out that they didn't mean right now, he turns to jog back into the house proper, eager to be in motion and doing something constructive. Also, there will be food. That buffet is seconds away from becoming his bitch.

"If they're hiding something, I'll find it.." and with that, Gayle zips off. She's stealthy. And she has larceny 3! All those nights sneaking in and out of the house to go to boyfriend's places has culminated to this moment where she becomes a spy. Rawr. Fear her.

As Pei starts looking into their local network, she can find a few more news stories. There's nothing really about the goings on in town, not much surprise there, but she does find some surprising bit of information. A bus full of New Atlanteans has been picked up by the local quarantine on the edge of town, and if she looks further, she'll see that Zack has made it out! Unbitten and unharmed. That will surely make her at ease, right?

And then, there's Hizugawa Rei who has also been observing. She frowns a little, looking at the rather carefree attitude of the 'New Atlanteans' before crossing her arms over her chest. "I don't think… the mood we have is acceptable as is. Today is different from yesterday. But tomorrow will be no different from today. The happyness we knew is lost. The town we know in our memories is lost. So I'm curious, Ashley. What will you do?" she asks.

Ashley looks a bit uncomfortable. Yes, she hasn't decided whether she'll stay or go with Matthew. She smiles cheerily as he offers to talk with her father and mutters softly. "He can be a bit intimidating. Perhaps my mother would be a good way to go first." she suggests as she looks back to the swords girl. "So do I go with you all or do I stay. Regardless of what I choose, nothing will be the same. Just when I thought I was understanding what was going on, daddy gave the demonstration. Is it all right for us to be so.. carefree still?" Oh dears, enter dramatic NPC monologue. "We're practically considered adults now. Even with what's going on, is it still possible to feel love.. happyness.. or shame?!? In order to save ourselves, we left my classmates behind…" and now she's on a train of selfdoubt. Fix her Matthew! Be a man!

Matthew moves his hand to Ashley's back, keeping that bit of human contact as he tells her, "Practically considered? You're class Valedictorian, you will be going to college soon. You are an adult Ashley, there is no practically about it. You're also human, we've already been through a lot and we'll probably be through a lot more but you can't give up on feeling. Love gives us someone to impress and be worthy of, happiness reminds us everything really will be ok, shame shows us where we made mistakes. We left the school and because we did, when we did, Albert is alive, Jasmine is alive, the Nurse is alive. If you're going to feel anything feel /proud/ of what you've accomplished. Feel proud you got us up those stairs to the first aid supplies where we found the nurse, because if you hadn't Alice wouldn't have a daddy right now. You've done well so far, and I have faith you're going to keep doing well." Looking towards the door, "Let's chat with your mom then." He lets her lead the way. It's her mom, she knows where the secret mom lair is.

Pei-Pei skims through news stories as she establishes an optimal connection to the LAN and WiFi Internet. As she comes across news that Zack has escaped safely, she lets out a triumphant 'EEEEE!' before she looks toward the suddenly named Hizugawa Rei. One eyebrow quirks as she peers at the sword maiden, head tilting to one side thoughtfully for several long moments.

"You're just a little Rei of sunshine, aren't you?"

Oh snap. Pun burn!

The first thing Tavio does, when the angry ninja chick chastises them for lack of a proper attitude, is jump in place, because she has just startled the hell out of him. She'd apparently been there all along, keeping her own counsel. The second thing he does is scowl at her, his mouth working its way through various indignant shapes beneath a furrowed brow.

"It's called coping. Maybe we're not Zen enough for you, but we get by the best we can. I'm really sorry about your town, I swear. We're doing the best we can to put it right, and we don't mean any disrespect. It's just how we roll, aight? I'm real sorry for your losses an' all, so don't go thinkin' we're treating this like a joke."

He doesn't wait for a reply. Debate is not his strong suit, especially right now. As he hastens to get provisions for an emergency escape, he can be heard to snicker as Pei-Pei expresses aggravation through the majesty of puns.

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