The next season of Z-LAND will take place 5 years after the last.
To get you ready for it, Rycon has written what happens during those 5 years and we’ll be posting them here so you can follow along with what happens to the survivors.
Last time we covered the first month of the group’s stay at the Marine Discovery Centre. This time it’s the whole next year.
This time we are doing things a bit differently, and will cut the post up in parts, and first on the list is Jake and Nic’s adventures.
Jake and Nic
It’s the start of a new month and a full moon is high in the night sky. Tonight is the night Jake and Nic leave the reserve to sail into unknown waters in search of others, survivors who might still be trying to eek out an existence in this new world. After much debate it was decided that a note would be the simplest way to inform the rest of the group of their disappearance.
The skills they learnt from Charles over the past month are serving them well as they navigate away with one of the yachts. Their first stop is the Coromandel Peninsula and Kaiaua in the hope that after months Red and Green might still be alive. The sea is quiet but the wind carries Jake and Nic along, keeping the boat far from shore to avoid rocks or any submerged hazards. Before dawn they reach the firth of Thames. Dropping anchor, the two of them use a double-seated kayak to travel the rest of the distance (it is as of yet the only way to and from the yacht).
The beach is still, only the sounds of waves reach their ears in the cool dawn sun. No sea birds or other signs of life are apparent. Moving to the cover of the dunes they hide the kayak and pull out a map and begin to plot their journey. They never learnt the true location of Red and Green and thus have only approximations to work with.
The two of them walk the dusty farm roads in the direction of their old home, holding still from time to time as the sound of animals growling seemingly follows them. On their path they come across a number of skeletal carcasses of cows torn apart and consumed to the bone. In time the growling dissipates and they move on, the dim light offering them cover from the wide spanning fields.
The peaks of the Hunua ranges are touched by the sun as they reach the old bach, blackened, broken, destroyed. The fire from the initial explosion had spread, scorching the surrounding area anything that remained was lost to the flames.
With a quick search of the hanger further from the Bach the small cessna still sits undisturbed. They take note of it as the idea of flying above all this carnage is certainly appealing, but neither of them have the talent to make this old bird fly.
Returning to the Bach the burnt remains of Cliff lays on the ground facing skyward. It’s now that they notice what seems to be countless footprints that have trampled the area around the bach. A horde of people moved through here, or so it seems. But this march wasn’t recent, it was quite some time ago, more than likely after the big boom. Walking down the slope towards the chicken farm Nic catches something reflective out the corner of his eye in the morning sun.
There amongst the grass they find a metal serving tray with a leather belt attached to it. A shield, lost by their friend months ago. Perhaps it might keep them safe? The thought runs through their minds as they reach the coop, or what remains of it. The fences are bent facing downwards and door and windows of the structure lay smashed and broken. All around them feathers weighed down with blood attempt to fly away in the morning breeze. The small bones of countless birds are scattered throughout the field.
Jake flicks on his radio, turning it to the frequency he once used to contact Red and Green. He calls and waits, and waits, and waits. There’s no response. Only silence.
The two of them continue to search the surrounding hills, hoping to find some trace, some sign of the two a trail of smoke, a car in the distance, but the surrounding countryside offers none of that. Only silent rolling hills and by this time the sun approaches it’s zenith. There are homes in the distance but spying through his binoculars Jake only sees slowly shambling figures in groups of two to six. Defeated, they begin to return to the yacht but not without trouble. The same growling that was heard in the morning returns, barks and howls follow them as they both pick up the pace, running through the troughs of the land, hiding themselves from further view.
As they reach the shore and their kayak the hounds are right on their tail. A pack of dogs varying in species dart after them with foaming mouths and bloodied faces. Pushing the kayak into the water they begin to paddle as quickly as they can. The fastest of the hounds leap into the water after them. Nic smacks them back with his paddle while Jake continues to power forward in the front. Before long they begin to outpace the creatures but the hounds haven’t given up their chase yet. Pulling the kayak back on board the yacht the anchor is reeled back up and the sail unfurled. The yapping, growling and snarling surrounds the boat as they kick the small engine into action, giving them a starting chance. Finally the wind finds the sails and the engine is turned off. They escape, leaving the hounds behind and with them the chance of finding Red and Green.
Their voyage over the next year follows a very similar course, but with each landing they both become more proficient. They stay in the Firth of Thames for some time, gathering equipment, resources, and holding onto the hope of finding Red and Green. Their procedures for dealing with the dead help them search in areas otherwise inaccessible. Using batteries and the removed horns from vehicles, they manage to lure much of the dead away from the areas in which they search, and when they cannot the two of them work in tandem to take each threat down one by one.
In one of these raids they manage to acquire semi-portable radio equipment from Thames-proper, but not without danger. Their foray into the city of Thames on a moonlit night revealed a new kind of danger, many of the bones the littered the streets where just that, bones. No flesh remaining on them at all, similar to what they had experienced in Warkworth. Finally the cause was found in the form of a squeaking, squealing mass of rodents, hundreds of the things but they all seemed somewhat different to the rats Jake and Nic knew pre-fall: many had little to no hair and appeared sick and pale. They washed over the streets like a flood, climbing up and over the decaying cars, flowing out from the sewer openings and towards the two of them. The mass was fast, faster than the Jake and Nic, and the only option seemed to be to climb and so them did, but the mass followed.
Nic helped Jake on top of a nearby cargo truck and with only moments before the wave would crest the top the large vehicle it seem to lessen, the rodents toppled and falled as their base gave way, chasing something else, something further down the road. It was one of lifeless, the shambling dead. The wave of rodents rushed towards it and toppled the man in seconds. The swarm writhed over the top of him and Jake and Nic took this as their chance to escape. With the equipment in hand they ran from the horrid scene as the noise of the creatures consuming the dead creature stayed firmly locked in their minds.
Using the yacht’s small solar and wind system Jake enacts an idea to broadcast an AM frequency station everyday at the same time, to share what information the two of them have learnt so far: Information on the dead, Survival Techniques, Medical Knowledge, Information on Food, Fishing, Growing Etc, Where Not To Go, and Sharing Noteable Events.
They broadcast on the boats CB radio earlier in the day, sharing the radio frequency of the AM broadcast and hoping that someone might respond. However no one ever does. After acquiring what they could from Thames cautiously approaching the city again and again the decision to move on is made.
They journey around the peninsula at night, and as the path brings them within sight of Great Barrier Island, the two of them quietly look out towards the large island a shadow on the night time horizon. Recalling the horror that was dropped onto Little Barrier, they silently slip by, eventually reaching the many coastal towns along the southern edge of the peninsula. All are seemingly deserted or with a number of dead too large to manage by themselves. Still, they gather what supplies and information they can, searching for signs of life and sometimes finding the remains of it. Large campsites, with many tents and rudimentary structures but all seem abandoned or in the worse cases graveyards with the grisly remains of those who called this place home on display.
Whangamata and Waihi show signs of widespread fire with many structures in complete ruin. Along the beaches are the remains of countless people and boats that wash ashore, they are the lifeless and many can do nothing but crawl on their stomachs back into the waves to “chase” the yacht as is sails on by. It’s as they reach the heart of the Bay of Plenty that they encounter their first true sign of life. From the direction of Mount Maunganui they spy two small metal dinghies headed right towards them. With a set of binoculars it quickly becomes apparent that the two vessels rushing towards them have a number of armed individuals on board. Jake counts six in total, three on each ship. They have what look to be rifles of a kind pointed towards the yacht and they are blitzing towards them at full speed. There is no way to out run them with the current winds so another action is demanded.
What’s going to happen to Jake and Nic? Find out next time on the Z-LAND timeskip!
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