Z-LAND S3 Chapter 2 “Terra Mortis” Part 3

Our survivors follow the tracks of Ismail’s men to an old territorial supply point but what happened to those who walked before them?


Not caught up yet? CLICK HERE to watch all the apocalyptic action.

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Z-LAND S3 Chapter 2 “Terra Mortis” Part 2

Our survivors begin the journey north to Kholm. With Max in tow, will she get the treatment she needs and what exactly do the Russians want.


Not caught up yet? CLICK HERE to watch all the apocalyptic action.

And get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.


If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

Z-LAND S3 Chapter 1 “Reunions” Part 1

We return to our survivors five years after the events of season two, where are they now and what does the future have in store for them.


Not caught up yet? CLICK HERE to watch all the apocalyptic action.

And get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.


If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

Z-LAND Timeskip: The end of the story

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 saw what happened with everyone at the Reserve during the five year timeskip. This time we see a little of the mysterious journeys that Jake and Nic went on during their own five years.

The final story

Life outside the walls of the Reserve was far different than the one lived within. Jake and Nick knew this well. They remained in Tauranga, and attempted to understand the community that sunk their ship. What occurred there only Jake and Nic knew, but it lead them to helping two souls down on their luck. After their escape, their journey took them further than they any of them thought possible. They pushed out into the great unknown and it seemed for the longest time that any thought of returning to the Reserve was just that: a thought.

But circumstances change and in time Jake and Nic had no choice but to return. What had they seen, and what had they experience throughout those final years… with the right questions and queries we might just find out in the next season of Z-LAND.


And that’s it for the timeskip! The next time you hear about the group and their adventures, it will be in the next episode of Z-LAND on Rycon’s YouTube channel. So stay tuned to find out what happens.


Itching to watch the series? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

And get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.


If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!



Z-LAND Timeskip: 5 Long Years

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 finished off the first year after the group came to the Marine Centre. This time we look at the next 4 years that roll by.

Life At Home

As one year bleeds into the next the people of The Reserve and the MDC are slowly getting used to their new lives, each with their own role in supporting the growing community. Over the four years no new souls have been found, only the dead. After Nic, Jake and eventually Chloe left no one else felt the need to answer the call of the road. It was clear that the outside world was still incredibly dangerous and that the MDC was nothing more than a small place of sanctuary among a violent and deadly storm.

Outside the reinforced walls the ground is tilled and food is grown. The seas has remained plentiful but the numbers at the Reserve have dropped off slightly over the years. With no other commercial fishing ventures in operation the seas are safer than ever for larger populations of marine life.

In addition to growing a crop ,consisting of mostly wheat, a smaller vegetable garden is maintained within the walls. What uninfected mammals persist outside the walls are trapped in cages and snares. Their meat, fur and sinew are processed by Schalk the trapper who’s become adept at using almost the entire animal, but trapper isn’t the only profession belonging to the newfound bushman. At night he secretly scans the airwaves picking up voices of the outside world, logging them, making sure that the Reserve remains hidden.

Kate, his contact, has been a welcome voice to shake up the day-to-day of the Reserve, but over the years her positive outlook has slowly wavered. Maintaining their own self-imposed rules no talk of locations or names had occurred. To the rest of the community Schalk has just seemed like the kind of man that appreciates his privacy, so they give it to him. Atop the MDC his shack has evolved into a full-on home with all of his tanning and drying supplies. When the two young girls Olivia and Elsa attempted to break in to see the supposed arm bone of Schalk, the bushman scared them off without even trying.

One story down from the roof, are the rooms of most the residents, each unique to the owner and well lived in after four years. The pool table at the centre of the room has faded and the television, once the focal point of the rec-area, was long since moved into storage. It has been replaced with a large bookcase full with fiction, much of which has been read many times over. The bathrooms still operate using gravity fed tanks atop the MDC. Refilling them is a pain when the rains are low, but it allows the residents to stay hygienic without much trouble. The toilets operate in a similar way, thankfully, sparing the community from latrines.

Another level down, the kitchen often has wonderful aromas travelling from it with Jonah and Lulu working away, attempting to keep the meals interesting and fulfilling. Olivia, now fourteen years old, assists them while watching out for her little sister Elsa, who’s much more trouble at the age of eight. A diet of bread, vegetables, fish, shellfish, bird, possum, rabbit and stoat has kept the Reserve healthy and fitter than most in the new world.

Finally, the bottom level is where much of the action happens. Outside, the washstation is often manned by Willow with her four year old son Philip, taking care of the laundering of the eleven residents’ clothing. Whenever an injury or sickness occurs she’s quick to jump into action. She and her young one still live outside the main walls in the house closest to the MDC, but all of the medical supplies are kept in the hospital ward created on the second level of the complex.

At the rear of the MDC Lulu’s garden can be found. Here she works with Olivia and Elsa, keeping plants for eating and for medicinal purposes. Just outside the walls the archery targets still stand, Jen being the only member to continue to use them after their creator Chloe left. Now twenty years old, Jen has grown into a tough and capable woman. She’s honed her skills as an archer, easily becoming the best shot with a bow at the Reserve. When she isn’t practising her archery or assisting Scott and Frank on runs, she works the forge alongside Scott.

The two have grown much closer over the years, something her Father Charles was very much aware of. His opinion wouldn’t have stopped Jen, but the man came out in support of the relationship. While it has been a slow burner, the two have become quite enamoured with the other. Charles, however, did disapprove of her joining Scott and Frank when they went beyond the walls of the Reserve.

Trips outside the walls were difficult. The vehicles had remained in good repair thanks to Frank, but the fuel that ran them had spoiled years before, making the pink ute and the Swift all but useless.

The three of the them used bicycles to travel quietly and with a bit more speed than walking the roads. They were always careful to only travel so far. Years prior, soundtraps were set up in each neighbouring town luring any infected creature towards that rather than the Reserve. A combination of reflective wind chimes and small solar garden lights helped catch the attention of the starving masses that swept through the towns.

Luckily the members of the reserve never had to deal with swarms of rodents that plagued many other townships. The trips out were quick and with purpose, sometimes with no other object than to acquire a new book or a specific tool. Clad in chainmail, the three were a sight to see.

The fights with the dead were precise and tactical. If a fight could be avoided it was always preferred. Successful, the three would return home. Scott and Jen would retired to the forge and work until the late evening on whatever the community required. By now even though it wasn’t required, every member of the Reserve had a set of chainmail custom built for them by the couple.

In the morning Scott would rise early to assist Charles who had become the primary fisherman of the Reserve. The two always fished from shore keeping the boats moored since to travel in them invited unwanted attention. Come rain or shine they brought food in from the sea. The two men had become close over the years and Charles had stayed true to his sobriety pledge.

Here at the reserve life had fallen into a pace with the seasons and the cycles of nature. They lived a life of peace. Curiosity of what the rest of the world looked like was always there, but the decision to remain was unanimous. There was never a vote, rather everyone had grown to enjoy the lives they lived away from the pain they had left behind. They had lost so much to reach this point and finally they could reap what they had sown. As the fifth year after The Fall began that peace would soon be shattered as the outside world would find its way back into the lives of those at the Reserve


Itching to watch the series? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

And get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.


If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

Z-LAND is DrivethruRPG’s Deal of the Day

As the title says, today Z-LAND is DriveThruRPG’s Deal of the Day, so if you haven’t gotten your hands on Z-LAND yet, there is no better time for it. Until tomorrow 9am (US Central Time) you can grab Z-LAND for only $6. So click on the banner above, or simply here, to get Z-LAND now before the time runs out.

Z-LAND is where humanity is no longer the top of the food chain, where every day could be your last. Hunger, Thirst, Sleep and Exposure all wear down on you in a battle of attrition with the unstoppable Dead. Find the answer to the question “just how long would I survive” as you and your friends attempt to do just that. What makes Z-LAND unique is we take the survival aspect of survival-horror very seriously. You will see your character weaken as sleep deprivation, hunger & thirst slowly whittle them down. But that is where the choice comes in, will you just take it? Or will you do anything & everything necessary to survive? How much of yourself can you retain in your battle to survive?

Z-LAND Timeskip: End of Year 1

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 what happened the Chloe and Scott during their first year. This time we cover Schalk’s time and how the year comes to an end.

Schalk

While present for many of the events throughout Scott’s story, Schalk has taken to more of a passive approach to the community. Much like the month before, he’s spent most of his time atop his crows nest or pacing the out edge of the reserve. It’s during this pacing that he discovers the tracks of small animals, cats or possums he presumes.

Using some of the workshop’s tools, he fashions a number of deadfall traps and small cages to leave on the perimeter. Within a few weeks these have a positive return: a number of uninfected possums and a cat or two.

Up top of the MDC he butchers and dries the meat of said critters. The fur of the possums are a valuable resource and, well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, the leather from which Schalk attempts to tan and preserve. It takes time and trial and error, but eventually he has useable material. The “jerky” that he is able to provide to the community is a welcome change and supplements the current diets nicely. All the while Schalk waits for a response from the radio again.

It’s been month now since he’s heard anything from his night-time communicator until out of the blue it starts again. It was just a regular night, the usually set of coordinates streamed in changing subtlety night to night but this time it was different, it was a message. Schalk was sure of it, and with pen in hand he jotted down the sequence, it translated to “CBL15”: a civilian band channel. With trepidation Schak powers on the civilian scanner and flick to channel 15. He waits, silence… … and then a voice. “Is it you? The same person as before, the one on the mainland?”

Schalk had never heard his radio friend’s voice before but this very well could be the same person. He starts off slow, giving a name and receiving one in return: Kate.

Kate claims to be the same person who was communicating with him in coded beeps in months prior. When inquiring about her absence she pauses for a long time until finally receiving a dismissive response. She states that she was away from the equipment, away from her, she pauses again… home.

Communication always comes to an end an hour after midnight every night. Each night Schalk’s there, and they talk but not through coded beeps this time rather two humans speaking over great distances. During the day he expand his trapping by stringing nets between the accommodation building and the MDC proper to catch birds and bats. It takes time but the nets return a profit in time, the same goes for small hooks with fish guts tied to branches to catch sea birds and the like. More variety of proteins, and also feathers to be used on arrows.

Schalk share his success with Kate at night she seems genuinely happy to hear him thriving. She’s always very careful to make sure that he doesn’t give to much away about his surroundings, almost as though she’s protecting him from something. She has asked about numbers in the past, how many people he has, but all he’s got from asking her is “many”. She’s also been interested in his ratio of males and females in the group. After being honest with her, as she has been with him so far, she offers him a warning. “If you ever see a New Zealand Army uniform or a chopper overhead, do not communicate, hide if you can.” When asked why, all she can offer Schalk is that his group just “wouldn’t do well here”.

Maybe it was a slip up, or maybe it was intentional, but her last sentence confirms that Kate was part of some military presence. A presence that Schalk would slowly learn more of as the months went on and the conversation continued.

Winter wasn’t kind to him atop the accommodation building but he had some time to insulate his little abode atop it. That and all the furs he had collected over summer made for warm boots, mittens and beanies.

After Jonah’s heart attack the old man joined him often as Schalk walked the perimeter checking the traps as he was unable to venture outside of the reserve. Often he spoke of his daughters, how they never had the chance to start their own families. There is a sense of understanding between the two of them and perhaps the start of a friendship.

The year comes to an end with the birth of Willows son. It’s been a year of slow change but the complex around Schalk has changed throughout it. Fortified, with gardens, a community and the start of something new. Each night Kate waited to hear about his day and she shared hers with him. As best he could understand it, she was a communications officer in the New Zealand Army and that each night for an hour she had the comms suite to herself. She never disclosed her location and neither did he. What would come of his talks was still to unfold but for now he knew a little bit more about another’s life in this undead world.

———-

Itching to watch the series? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

And get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.

———-

If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

Z-LAND Timeskip: Chloe and Scott

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 finished off Nic and Jake’s adventures around post-apocalyptic New Zealand. This time we are going back to the reserve to see what happens with Chloe and Scott.

Chloe

A calling that had been at Chloe’s heart from a long while would finally be answered. A great journey, first in search of a lost friend and then the search for the one she loves. A journey fraught with danger but one that Chloe felt she must take. She smiles, looking back on the MDC and those that live within it. “They’ll be alright,” she thinks to herself as she begins the long trek into the unknown.

Scott

Back at the reserve everyone attempts to come to terms with losing two more members of the community. Not knowing when the others will return, Scott works with Schalk, Chloe, Frank and Jonah to work out a new watch schedule and adjust duties where needed. After the first week of the two being gone the idea that they might not come back begins to enter many minds, to make matters worse Chloe has packed her bags in the attempt of finding Rycon. Jonah and Frank protest but Chloe states it as something that she just needs to do.

Now missing three and the last left from the original group Scott attempts to bring together those that remain. At the start of the timeskip there were thirteen… now only ten remain. More than ever they all must work together and Jonah assists in making sure that happens. Scott throw himself into his work attempting for the first time to start the process of making chain mail. He has the tools and the resources necessary and, with the remote location of the Reserve, he has the time to learn through trial and error. He measures up Jonah and Frank first and begins the process. When he hits a brick wall or get frustrated he bashes out another spear until he has eight for everyone to defend themselves with. It takes time and a lot of frustration, and Frank continues to help Scott as he can but Jen finds herself enjoying the process of linking and becomes an apprentice. Charles approves and seems happy to see his daughter learning.

After two months and no word from either party that left small forays are made out to search the surrounding countryside. Jonah and Frank get to test and then attest to the strength of Scott’s mail. It took time and countless hours but his work saved lives and allowed the two men to return home safe.

Scott’s mornings are still spent fishing with Charles who’s now been sober since their arrival at Goat Island. He seems like an entirely new man, but he still fears walking beyond the perimeter of the reserve. Scott doesn’t think he’d ever be able to survive beyond them but at least knows in here he can keep on working on being a father that Jen could be proud of.

As the year leads on and the seasons change, the reserve was blessed with a constant source of seafood. It fluctuated throughout the year but there was always enough for the ten of them. Supplemented with a garden that Lulu had been running with the young ones, Goat Island was eating well. There are a number of times throughout the year that small projects are required of Scott  by Frank to fix plumbing pieces which further hones his craft. Once winter rolled round with full force colds and coughs became common with everyone living in the same building and something else became apparent to everyone. Willow was pregnant. She had been hiding it from the community for a time and with her living in the home away from everyone that had worked for a good long while.

She never confirmed the father but many suspected Flip. It didn’t seem to bother her but the rest of the community was concerned with what was come a number of months from now. To make matters worse Jonah suffered a near fatal heart attack towards the end of winter leaving him much frailer than before. Thankfully Willow was able to save the old man and nurse him back to health. Slowly she and everyone else was beginning to feel comfortable together.

As each month passes the hopes of anyone returning slips away and the community adds three more crosses to the small memorial space at the edge of the MDC. Scott continues to work, the forge feels like home and its warmth is good in the winter. Jonah insists he doesn’t need the armor anymore as he really can’t be going back out there. Frank suggests to relink if for Scott himself. Looking at it Scott doesn’t really need to add all that many links. After nearly a year of hard labor and a cleaner diet he’s slimmed down to a comfortable weight, but he is much taller than Jonah so the ends will need a few more links. Jen is happy to help with the process but she’s worried, just like anyone is when someone leaves, after losing Nic , Chloe and Jake.

With the suit repurposed Frank fills Scott in on the next stage of his plan. Using the pink ute which he repaired and got road worthy the two of them would travel to the nearby properties and strip them of their fences. As long as they were above head height they would suit them perfectly. Trip after trip allowed the two of them to gather the materials necessary to complete a fence line around the MDC. It’s hard work but with everyone else back at the MDC helping a small wall is raised around the perimeter of the discovery center. A great sense of accomplishment for all of them and an added sense of safety.

After the completion of the wall everyone took a good few days off and at the end of that the baby came. It started during the night, Lulu had insisted that Willow stayed in the main building while so close to giving birth. The night is a difficult one and it seems touch and go but as the sun rises both Willow and her baby boy are alive and seemingly well.

It’s a moment that strikes everyone at the reserve, a child has been born that will never know what was before the world they live in now. Many of the group hope for continued peace, and with that Scott’s year comes to an end. But not before he finishes his final project: an object that serves as both a weapon and a tool, a mix between a battle-axe and shovel. A hefty task but one he throws himself into, with the support of his apprentice.

Tune in next time to see what happens with Schalk and how the year comes to an end.

———-

Itching to watch the series? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

And get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.

———-

If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!


Z-LAND Timeskip: Adventures of Nic and Jake

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 half of Jake and Nic’s adventures around the post-apocalyptic New Zealand in their first year after Season 2. Now we’ll find out what happened after their encounter near Tauranga

Jake and Nic continuing adventures

Jake raises his bullpup into the air and fires a warning shot. The figures duck for a second but answer with a hail of bullets, two of which thunk in the yacht with the remaining hitting the water either side. Realizing that they’re outgunned, Nic floats the idea of a bait and switch. Quickly grabbing a white towel from below deck, he says to stay down until they are close then fire away. A risky play but the plan is put into action. Both of them hit the literal deck and the flag is raised. No more gunshots are heard but the sound of engines grow louder.

They both look at each other, the flag is wedged in against a seat and they both crawl forward weapons in hand. There is only one chance to get this right and, as the sound of the engines reaches a crescendo, with a quick peek over the bow they both unleash an volley of fire in the direction of the boats. It’s the first time either of them have emptied an entire magazine and it’s almost beyond belief how quickly it went. They hear screams of pain, returning fire, and the plink-plink-plink of bullets tearing through the metal hull of their ship.

They pin themselves to the deck, but the sound of the engines doesn’t stop, it grows louder still until CRASH! They’re both thrown across the deck and slammed into the side rails. Splintered wood is thrown into the air and flames take to what was the bow of their ship.

Quickly the vessel begins to lurch forward into the water and what was one of the metal dinghies can be seen lodged into the front of their yacht. The crumpled metal boat is slick with blood and riddled with bullet holes, but the other boat is unseen. Jake and Nic both start to lose their grip as the yacht begins to go under. There isn’t any time to grab anything, they only have what their wearing and the weapons they are carrying.

The two of them drop into the drink as the yacht and the crumpled dinghy sink to the bottom. Finally, the second boat is in sight as Jake and Nic bob in the water, turning tail and returning to Tauranga with speed.

Swimming to shore wasn’t easy, neither was surviving the first night. Cold and without supplies they stumbled upon a logging office, the area all around them seemed to be used for forestry. In the morning they cautiously collected what little supplies had washed up on shore. It wasn’t much but with it they could survive a little longer.

Drying their soaked maps in the sun they discover that they’re stranded on a small spit of land known as Matakana Island. With Tauranga and the remains of civilisation to their south they both begin the trek. As they near the edge of the island, plumes of smoke can be seen rising from Tauranga. They are, however, different than the large scale fires they’ve witnessed in the past. This flames must be controlled by someone, somewhere in the city.

Thankfully the trip off the island isn’t too difficult with the low tide. Only a small amount of swimming is required. They arrive on the small peninsula of Omokoroa. The small town contains many of the shambling dead and Jake and Nic cautiously move through the dead town collecting what little food supplies that remain. They have a goal in mind, a fire station in Bethlehem, just northwest of Tauranga that they spied on the maps. There they hope to find radios and other forms of equipment, that and the building will serve as a staging point as they move closer to Tauranga in an attempt to find the ones who attacked their boat.

The days are not without peril. Even being cautious, they often find themselves in combat with the dead. Thankfully they have worked out efficient methods of disposing the dead together. Finally reaching the station, they begin to set up their staging point, trapping the building and disguising their presence.

At night they slowly make their way towards the harbour, the main port of Tauranga. There is a strange glow in the night as they approach, a strange sight after months of darkness.  Before reaching the northern port they cross a railway bridge and then begin to hear a sound that slowly grows in volume as they near the ports. The sound of a thousand voices screaming out into the night.

They can hear them but cannot see them as they near the edge of the port. One of the great machines that once moved hundreds of containers a day sits unused, and Nic carefully climbs its ladder to get a better view of the area while Jake watches the fence line. Once Nic reaches the top he can see it clear as day but the binoculars make it all the clearer.  Three giant container ships float moored to the port, each emitting light into the night and each surround by innumerable dead. Gangplanks are stretched between each of the vessels allowing movement between each, and on all of the decks many people can be seen. Living breathing people, however many sit shackled together, bound by chains.

A cautious approach is called for and, to learn more, the Jake and Nic look out from the top of the container crane until the sky slowly begins to grow lighter. From what they can tell, the majority of the people on deck are in chains, bound and welded to the metal deck of the ships, and between them walk men holding assault rifles. They seem to care little for the thousands of dead that swarm the bottom of the ship and one large gangplank that extends out towards them conjures images of poor souls forced to walk out along it.

It’s difficult to see the far sides of the vessels but Jake and Nic do catch sight of small boats and dinghies similar to the ones that approached them on the water. In total six “guards” are seen on deck.

The following afternoon Jake and Nic are awoken in their fire station home to the sound of a distant train rumbling past. Half an hour later gunshots and automatic fire are heard from the direction of port. Carefully they move between the abandoned homes towards the port. Dead stragglers move alongside them towards the noise. As they reach the railway bridge they’ve crossed before they pause as the sound of a train rumbling away from the ports reaches them.

Throwing themselves down in the overgrown grass the long machine begins to pass. It’s immediately clear the train has been heavily modified. The front displaying a massive steel wedge covered in the blood and gore of the dead and the engine sending out plumes of black smoke. It plows through the dead on the bridge with ease and carriage after carriage races by with every window covered by iron plates.

With the danger and the alertness of the dead in the surrounding area the decision to return home is made. The fire station remains just that for the coming week as they continue to attempt to survive in Bethlehem. It is here that Jake and Nic’s year draws to a close and the two find themselves thinking of the others they’ve left behind. Would they ever see them again? And what of the ports, for now Jake and Nic have only begun to scratch the surface…

Tune in next time to see what happened to the rest of the group that stayed behind at the Marine Centre!

———-

Itching to watch the series? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

And get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.

———-

If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

Z-LAND Timeskip: Year 1

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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