User:Capt Katie Helm USAF

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(You've picked up a green, bound, hardcover paper pad, with ledger lines on the inside.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 To whomever might find this: this is a record of what I hope will only be a few days spent on the ground. With some luck, in just a few days, I’ll be reviewing the contents over a cold one in the O-club. If not…maybe, just maybe, someone will find this and can answer some questions as to what happened to me.

We were off at 2220, Fitz as co-pilot and Schlemke as loadmaster. Mission was to carry a fairly light load of 4 x 2,000 pound pallets of supplies to Fort Creedy in Malton. I checked the JPADS coordinates myself, because I didn’t want to think about defenders having to leave the walls of the fort to get their supplies from the middle of the street…like I am now. It was going to be dark as hell, and even though we were told that there are some lights on in Malton, we were to ignore any signals from the ground (as they could be diversionary) and trust the GPS to bring the chutes into the compound.

We headed south, crossed over the boundary on time, and about two minutes from the drop, wouldn’t you know it but we had a *dual* engine failure. As new as those AE2100s are, it’s pretty rare to have a single-engine failure, but both of those big spools rolled back *at the same time*, and before you knew it, we had twelve blades windmilling. I pushed the condition lever into AIRSTART and held it, but there was no light-off. We had another 5,000 feet to work with, but headed downstairs like a ton of bricks. I told Schlemke to jettison our cargo immediately—somebody will put it to good use, wherever it lands. At the same time, Fitz started his mayday call just as I was about to tell him; good CRM pays dividends.

I also wanted to get us away from Malton, so I started a 10-degree angle of bank turn to the right, veering off through the west to north, trying to get back where we came from. I felt the pallets depart, and as I retrimmed I told Schlemke to shut the door for drag. By this time, the APU was up and running, so GENERATOR – ON and CONDITION LEVER – AIRSTART again. Nothing. Those big Allison engines didn't want to light. I didn’t *want* to admit failure, but at this point it's too dark to even attempt an emergency landing, and anyway I know it’s solid city below us like downtown L.A., so I knew we’d have to jump for it if we didn’t want to come to a sudden stop at the end. So I brought the condition levers back to FEATHER, and told everyone to don chutes—quickly.

Fitz was ready in no time, and then held the controls for me. When I was done, I gave the bailout command, and told Fitz not to wait for me, just make sure Schlemke gets out, so that when I go, I know they’re together and I’m the last one out. He was gone in a flash. I gave him an audible count to five, then set the autopilot to ROLL and VERTICAL SPEED mode to our present best-glide speed, and followed right behind them out the side door.

I had my hand on the ripcord before I jumped, and was pulling it before I was even in the slipstream. Opening shock was…well, quite a shock. It was *so damn dark* that I was completely disoriented and almost claustrophobic until the chute opened and I was righted. Fitz and Schlemke were gone. There was no way I was turning on my strobe or anything, and let everyone on the ground know exactly where fresh brains were. I could just see the last few minutes of the back end of our C-27 from the interior cabin lights, still locked into its glide.

And wouldn’t you know it, the son of a bitch just managed to clear the boundary fence before it died! Of all the stupid luck!

I landed heavily, in front of a church. The name on the arch said St. Josephine's Church. I shucked off the torso harness, and (without thinking about it) abandoned the gear in the street. Part of me wanted to yell out for my crew, but I knew better. Until I was certain about the ground situation, it would be better to go into hiding. Freed of the parachute, I ran straight into the church, whose doors were wide open.

Inside, I met Brian Rhyan, a new firefighter; Leadgiver2, a new NecroTech scientist; Stiffton, a private in the military; and Tom Fo0lery, a new cop. I wanted to stay, but didn’t feel safe. I learned that there was a police station to the north. All I had was my pistol and two clips, and I really wanted more. I set off for the police station.

Halfway there, I ran across the St Wilfrid’s Hospital. There were a few survivors inside, and I chatted with them briefly while looking for first aid kits—I found three. I also found this notepad. And then I moved on.

When I got to Brentnall Grove Police Department, it was so heavily barricaded, I couldn’t find any way in. This was a major blow. I was really disappointed. How was I supposed to survive if I couldn’t get into these vital supply points?

I headed straight east, passing the Maria General Hospital, which was also too heavily barricaded to enter. I was beginning to get genuinely concerned that I’d either have to sleep out on the street, or head all the way back to St. Josephine’s Church.

Just as I was starting to get really concerned, I passed the Eatwell Walk Fire Station, which was also extremely heavily barricaded! Now I was almost panicked. I saw there was one more police station ahead, a few blocks away, the Lamport Walk Police Department. I could see the lights on inside from a block away, and let me tell you, *nothing* made me feel safer. I crawled over the barricade, and joined about a dozen other survivors inside. I think I actually fell asleep standing up.

After a short, much-needed sleep, I scratched out these lines in my little journal here. Like I said, I hope that in a day or two, I’ll be laughing about this whole thing. If not…mom and dad, I love you very much and hope that I made you proud. My life has been an adventure up to this point, and everything I’ve done has been worth it. I wouldn’t trade a second of flying to reach this point.

Thursday, July 15, 2010 I heard some of the other survivors talking about the Calvert Mall, which was only a few blocks north. On the one hand, they said malls have been pretty well picked over in the last few years; but on the other hand, they’re still the best place to look for supplies.

Well-rested, I headed north and east. I’ll admit it, I didn’t pay much attention to the condition of any buildings, or even which route I took exactly; it’s not that I was focused or driven, but I was just oblivious. Thank god there was no real threat around me. I found out later, when I mentioned that I went to the Mall, that sometimes they’re surrounded by dozens, even hundreds of zombies, or zeds as a lot of survivors call them. I remember that the Challes Museum was so barricaded that I couldn’t see a way in. I got to the southwest corner of Calvert, but it too was extremely heavily barricaded. I circled the entire mall, going clockwise—nothing. No way in. It was still broad daylight, and I felt confident and energetic, so I continued exploring. I passed the Club Wadman, on my way to check on Theodore General Hospital, when I stumbled on a lone zed.

Part of me wanted to run; part of me wanted to examine. And another part wanted to put this poor bastard—this solitary bastard, with no horde around—out of his misery. I decided to knock him down.

He was lurching slowly through the street. I jogged up quietly behind him, and fired. I fired, again and again. I think I managed to do everything wrong. I jerked the trigger, I let the recoil get in my loop—the rounds went everywhere. A few actually connected, though. I had 29 rounds when I started, and when I was finished, I had five left. The zed had seven holes in him. Seven hits of 24 fired. I’m no math whiz, but that’s something around 30%. But even by the end of that string of fire, I felt better. Less shaky, less afraid of the weapon itself. I was able to concentrate on just squeezing and trying to be accurate.

It took a lot out of me, to fire so many rounds in a close-combat like that, watching the spray and *thwack* of my hits, concentrating on the front side as this thing stumbled closer to me, and trying to reload--quickly--as it approached. I was on the verge of collapse when it was all over. I made it only one block towards “home” before I collapsed in the street. After 30 minutes, I had enough energy to walk another block before collapsing again. The sun was almost set before I made it back to Lamport Walk PD.

Friday, July 16, 2010 Today, I declared, was a day of rest. I think the only reason I crawled out of my spot was to search for ammo, which was plentiful, and I found a flak jacket.

Saturday, July 17, 2010 I thought about it all yesterday: I needed to head east, along our flight path, and look for Fitz and Schlemke. And I wanted to end another zed. I left Lamport Walk with 35 scrounged rounds, and headed straight east, towards Shuttlebank, where they say it’s slightly more dangerous. I didn’t want a LOT of danger; just enough to find one or two more zeds, and cal it a day.

Around Aplin Towers, I saw a single zed, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once again, creeping near, I caught him in an advantageous ambush, and let him have it. With each round I fired, the more comfortable I felt with the weapon, and also reloading came a lot easier. Before long, all of the pistol training I learned but had forgotten had come back to me. The zed fell to the ground, finished.

I think that the noise of the encounter echoing through the empty blocks must have startled me, and I knew I didn't have too many rounds left, so decided to cancel the rest of my search and just return. I was retracing my steps when I saw another one in front of a junkyard. I had several real problems. First, I was getting short of ammo. Second, I didn’t know how many rounds it would take to put this one down. What if I bit off more than I had bullets for? And finally, it was getting dark, I was getting quite tired, and still had several blocks to get home. Maybe I shouldn’t engage him…? I decided that I was becoming a better shot, and it couldn’t hurt to just squeeze off a few rounds, and run away if necessary.

Using the ambush method that I was perfecting, I let this one have it, too. I fired, again and again, catching him with some good hits, but running out of ammo and daylight all the while. I finished him off with only three rounds remaining, and like the time before, I was so exhausted by the effort, I had to collapse in the shadow of a building and rest before continuing. I trudged my way back to Lamport Walk, forced to stop frequently to rest. I was elated over my two kills, but just so horribly consumed.

When I finally made my way into the police station, I was so relieved. I mentioned to some of the others that I killed one, and couldn’t contain myself to engage the other, even if I had to abandon the attack and flee. That’s when I learned that some of the zeds have the ability to smell your scent trail. You attack them (or DNA scan them) and then run away, leaving them in the dust—but they smell which way you went, and trail you, coldly and mercilessly. I could have lead either one or both of them right back here! So good on me that I killed them both. MAJOR take-away for next time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010 Every time I had energy today, I searched for more ammo. I found nothing. I found a second flak vest, and that was about it. Of course, it didn’t help that the generator ran out of fuel halfway through the day. I could still see well enough though.

Monday, July 19, 2010 6pm- After a nice long nap, I woke to continue searching, and just kept coming up empty. I got some advice from Kristin Ortega, who pointed out the obvious: if you power up the genny, your search rates go up. Referring to the map, I decided that the closest auto repair shop was Spirrell Auto Repair, five blocks south and two blocks east. Effectively, it was a walk of 6 blocks to get there. I only had the energy in me (and daylight) to maybe get there, and do a little searching. It was probably impossible to return tonight. I thanked Kristin, made sure I had all my gear, and slipped out.

The streets were very deserted. I headed straight SE first, to recce the St. Godric’s Hospital first. It was quite strongly barricaded (but I believed I could crawl over it), and lit. One more block south, though, at Sly Way, I could see the St. Matthew’s Hospital, which had three zeds in front. I decided to avoid this area completely, darting SW to Gates Avenue, then south to Smethurst Walk (and avoiding Spirrell Auto Repair) to continue to Blanford Auto Repair. It took a little longer to get there (since I walked farther around) and enter, leaving me precious little time search. It was empty, but both Blandford and Spirrell were lit, and I could see that Crossman Grove Police Department (to the SW) and Dustan Towers (to the SE) were lit as well.

After 8 searches, I found a fuel can on my last search! I also found a fire ax, but discarded it since I already have one. I was forced to rest, resolving to wake at 10pm tonight, so that I can make the trek back to Lamport with fuel. Night? Probably more dangerous. But I really wanted to get that fuel back. I planned on heading NW back to Smethurst Walk, then straight north, reccying the churches and schools along the way. I know I could just head one block SW to Crossman Grove…but I don’t know exactly how safe it is, or if it's too heavily barricaded, and I’d really prefer to go to a place I know is “home”—at least for now.

At 9:30pm, I departed Blanford, headed northwest as planned. Saw one zed at Plummer Bank, but it was dark, and I slipped past him. Marriot Place School was lit. Both Mahagan Square Railway Station and also St. Maximillian’s Church are too heavily barricaded. No other activity on the way. Entered Lamport Walk PD as planned, took a brief nap, refueled the generator, and slept soundly for the night.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 4am- I (and the other 17 survivors in here) was woken by the sounds of our barricade being destroyed. I'd scrounged together 11 rounds, but it's sure not enough. The last of the barricade fell away, and the zombie pounded at the door, but for some reason couldn't get in. Eventually, the pounding stopped. Someone explained to me that some of the "newer" zeds don't remember how to open doors from when they were human. Still exhausted, I returned to sleep. Amazing, ain't it, what humans can learn to sleep through.

2pm- A stranger came in, named Libacjusz Fancypants, and fixed the barricade. I promised that someday, when I have the construction skill, I’ll reciprocate.

10pm- After a really good rest, I searched hard for several hours, coming up with more pistols, but no clips. I’m now sitting at 20 rounds, spread amongst 5 pistols (!?!?). Can’t wait to start dropping some of them. I already realized I didn’t need the second flak jacket and chucked it. I also learned tonight that Big Bash 3 is in full swing; presently sieging Giddings Mall. I’m torn between staying here at the police station, and spending a night “on my own” in a ruined safe house (just for the practice). Also, I’m torn between more searching vs. going hunting (I feel so much more proficient with my pistol, those advanced skills from survival training are coming back) vs. staying put and just resting up, so that I could have a full day tomorrow. I definitely learned last night when the barricade was falling that zero sleep makes one groggy, and doesn’t get one very far, even if you’ve got a bazooka and a few claymores. Will think about it more tonight (as I rest up).

I'm going to start leaving this in a safe place when I leave. Maybe if I die, someone will find it. And if I zombify, perhaps someday I could get it back if revived.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 -noon- jajjeo said he's going to go hunting (or target practice as he put it). He went out, and reported a lone zed standing on Luch Road, and the time he saw it. Checking my's a designated revive point, and told him so.

But I decided it was time for me to go hunting, too.

I went SE to the carpark, then east thru Flower Park. I passed a warehouse at VHB, then a junkyard at EHB, then saw Club Hallson, with survivors Beartato and tom619, wrestling with a lone zed. Call it poaching, but I poached him. Really getting the hang of the pistol now--two-thirds of my shots are hitting the mark. Club Hallson is heavily barricaded. Went north to Boorman Way Police Department--lights are on and extremely heavily barricaded. I retraced my steps and returned, stopping on the way to note that St Godric's Hospital is HB.

Returning, I searched the police station briefly before returning to sleep. I found a pistol clip, and also a pistol with a single round. So I'm right back to carrying 5 pistols for 20 rounds. *sigh*

Thursday, July 22, 2010 -2am- Jerking awake from sleep, I was happy to realize there was no threat. Jajjeo had returned, and was sorry for capping that poor zed. I helped him navigate with the wiki map. Also rummaged around the station for more stuff. I found a clip! …and another pistol. *sigh*. What the hell am I going to do with six pistols? Definitely time to go hunting during daylight.

10am- Decided to go walk around in daylight, looking for my crew again. Straight east this time, to the Don Cinema, which was EHB. Then I saw a horrible-looking zombie at St. Godric’s Hospital, to the SW. He looked like a stiff wind could knock him over, so I took a minor detour. He only required 2 hits to dispatch him. I pressed on again. Boorman Way PD was still EHB. I continued on. Hain Library is loosely barricaded. I had a brief thought to enter it, maybe see if I could find something entertaining to read back "home", but decided not to, at least this time. Applin Towers is EHB, but dark. Merchant Crescent PD is HB, but lit. North, I saw a fight between a lone zed tussling with Dushi and Nikolai Mihailov, in front of the Reginaldus Square Railway Station. I fired 14 rounds at him, changing pistols often. His rotten flesh was absorbing some of the impact of my rounds. I had 12 rounds remaining when I finished. The Railway Station was VHB.

I'd expended a lot of ammo and night was approaching, so I decided to return to Lamport Walk. I noted that Aplin Towers (with only 1 ‘p’) is lit but EHB. The Gulledge Museum is VHB. The junkyard NE of Don Cinema is VSB. I made it back just as the sun set, and with a crushing need to sleep. I'm glad I decided not to stop in at the library! But today, passing all the barricaded buildings, I learned something vital: freerunning. I think tomorrow it's high time I paid a visit to Calvert Mall.

Friday, July 23, 2010 11am- I'm spending the day resting up more. I want to be fully-charged when head for Calvert Mall. I've learned that the reason I couldn't get into the Mall last time was because it is deliberately barricaded to the point that not even survivors can get in. Instead, you have to jump or freerun from adjacent buildings which may have lower levels. The two closest points to me are St. Cyprian's Hospital and The Challes Museum. After reviewing my notes, my last visit to Challes found it too strongly barricaded, so I'll start with the hospital. In the meantime, I'm going to just stretch out and save up my strength, waiting for dark.

6pm- It was dark enough, and I was as rested as I ever would be. I departed Lamport Walk, headed for St. Cyprian's Hospital. Unfortunately, it's EHB. *sigh* I'm getting tired of this entry-point-too-barricaded-to-enter stuff. But then I saw a zombie to the northwest, standing at Eyres Way. I only had 18 rounds; not really enough to take on the world. But I was already out, and he was a loner, and I was frustrated like I was PMSing, so I went to take it out. I fired 15 rounds, and killed it, but with only three rounds remaining, I was seriously wondering if I'd have to resort to my axe. The Maddock's Drive Fire Station was just north, and supposed to be another entry point--so of course I found it heavily barricaded. There was one more entry point, at The Rason Hotel, but on the way I checked out the Coymer Museum--which was of course EHB. I also couldn't help but check out The Cator Museum. It's lights were on, but EHB. South to Rason...and it's VSB! Enter!

Inside were four survivors. They actually had some looted paintings decorating their out-of-fuel generator. There's an auto shop nearby, and a mall, but no fuel...? Whatever. I thought of trying on some of the clothes scattered in the hotel, but didn't. Into the Mall! Wow!!! Wonder of wonders!!! There must be 50 people in here! It's all powered, too. No wonder they like it here! I ran into 16 folks in the NW corner, including that Fancypants guy who fixed our barricade that night. I searched briefly, and found (but discarded) a tennis racket. Moving to the NE corner, there were four survivors. Also found (and kept) some sunglasses, and a bandanna (for keeping my hair together). In the southeast corner of the mall, seven survivors, and I found a knife there! I figured it wouldn't get any better than this, and without the time or ability to do some serious shopping, I can't find what I'm looking for. It had already been a long day, so I was headed back to Lamport Walk PD. I suppose I could have stayed in the mall...but I can't find the ammo I'm looking for, and wanted to go "home." I saw 17 survivors in the southwest corner, and recognized many people from the PD, but found nothing. I left through The Challes Museum; there were two people in it, and it was still VHB. A very brief search revealed nothing (I was hoping for some art to bring back), but their generator was out of fuel, and so it was harder to search. I made it back to Lamport Walk just as I was becoming very exhausted. All in all, great day! Got even more experience by killing a tough zed, and I picked up a knife. Now, just gotta figure out how to use it...

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