This is serious, people. How often are you watching a zombie movie, thinking to yourself (or perhaps yelling outloud depending on your current level of obnoxiousness) "What are you doing? Don't go there! It's not safe! And while your at it, chop off their damn heads. Everyone knows that's how you stop a zombie. Come on! Don't you watch zombie moves?!"
I've said it. You've said it. Ever since the original Night of the Living Dead ("They're coming for you, Baaarrrbbbrrraaaaa"), we have no excuse to be zombie ignorant and not to be prepared for an invasion. Even grade school kids know the quickest way to incapacitate the undead.
Go for the head. Damage the brain or spinal cord. None of this mucking around hitting them with bats or shooting them in the chest and screaming "Why won't they go down?! Oh god they just won't die!!" Duh. They're undead. A little critical thinking can go a long way people.
Anyway, back to the original topic I was to discuss, before my tangential rant (speaking of which, math related post to come soon...I know you've all been waiting eagerly on the edge of your seats for one). In our discussion, we came up with some criteria for an appropriate zombie safe house.
- Control of all entrances and exits. This is hugely important. If you can't lockdown your hiding place, I guarantee some clever zombie will find his or her way in. In every zombie movie, if someone ever utters "this place should be safe, it only has the one glaringly large hole in security; but really, what are the odds they'll find that one way in", within ten minutes the zombies' hunger for brains has driven them to solve this particular puzzle.
Following this requirement, there are a couple of things to consider when choosing a location with a known, limited number of exits. Make sure it is small enough so that you can really guarantee safety; don't be space greedy if it is going to put you in danger. However, don't lock yourself in the first garden shed or cellar you come across. You want some living space, who knows how long you'll need to tough it out until some organized effort is put forth to deal with this living dead issue. Think ahead.
- You and your rag tag team of survivors are going to need to eat. Don't plan on delivery or being able to pop down to the local pizza joint as options. Therefore, you're safe house of choice should come stocked with food. Preferably canned or other non-perishables (electricity will most likely be spotty, at best). This leads one to think of grocery stores as an ideal location. However, considering the previous point, this may be unwise due to the number of possible entrance points and sheer size of these buildings. Also, most grocery stores won't be able to fulfill the remainder of our criteria for safety. Not to say we ruled them out, though.
- So what happens if you need to leave your safe location for a brief period? Or perhaps you become overrun and a zombie or two happens to slip through your security perimeter (hey, it happens to the best of us)? Whatever the situation, it is inevitable that at one point or another you will be forced to have a face to face with a member of the recently risen. And just like the the popular rhyme us unpopular kids would sing to make ourselves feel better, words really won't hurt them. You are going to need something to deliver a large helping of violence, with a side of steaming ass-kicking.
Now, depending on the variation of zombie you are dealing with, different levels of automation and efficiency will be required of your weapon of choice. For dealing with those annoyingly fast zombies a la 28 Days Later or the remake of Dawn of the Dead, a gun is most definitely preferable. You can't really afford to get up close and intimate with these guys. But if your flavor of zombie seems to be more Night of the Living Dead-ish (i.e. sluggish, imbecile, less dead human and more living inanimate object), a more personal or improvised weapon is acceptable; as long as it is capable of damage or removing the head. Shovels, axes, sharp bit of wood, street sign, mangled piece of metal. The key here is to be creative, since you have the flexibility.
Keeping all of this in mind, your choice of hideout will need to be amended to ensure you have access to the appropriate level of weaponry. This requirement sort of rules out traditional grocery stores; however, hybrids such as Fred Meyers, Super Walmart, Super Target, and the like are still possible options.
- One key factor to consider is travel time. The less time you spend getting to your designated safe house, the less chance it will have become overrun or that you will get bitten (and therefore doomed to cause the downfall of your party) en route. You can't be roadtrippin' it; who knows, the roads may even be blocked with debris such as traffic cones, trees, other cars, or bits of ex-people. Having a large truck, in this case, would be beneficial. However, it still may be a better idea to locate a safe location within a mile or two of your most probable situation with the invasion begins.
Again, the most important point here is to plan ahead. With all the stress of having to dismember your neighbors while keeping their brain-thirsty jaws away from your person, the last thing you want to be worrying about is where you will be sleeping tonight. Also, having a goal is requisite for survival. Those who end up having a lie about, moping at the injustice of it all or other such nonsense will more than likely get eaten in the next act. While being goal-driven doesn't guarantee survival, it certainly helps keep your mind off of the depressing fact that the girl you've been crushing on for the last few weeks is probably a zombie now and dammit you really should have asked her out before this whole mess happened because seriously the worst she could have said was no and since she's undead now anyway you wouldn't have lost anything plus as a bonus if she had said yes she'd probably be with you now in your rag tag group creating the necessary romantic tension to drive the story forward.
My next inclination would be Fred Meyers. It is even closer than Home Depot, has much of the construction materials we could need (sans raw wood, but we could improvise), and would have more than enough canned food to last us quite a while. The large supply of food even means we could support not just our rag tag team, but any other survivors who perhaps had the same idea as us. We run into the same lack of gun problem, though, and also Freddie's is quite large; securing the location could prove problematic. Although the thought did just occur to me that we could definitely take advantage of the built in security cameras (provided we had electricity). Despite not being ideal, I don't think I'd rule it out yet.
After a while, Allen became sold on the idea of using Bimart as our fallback. All the canned food benefits of Fred Meyers, with a subset of the Home Depot construction tools, and the bonus of guns in stock. I mostly agree that this seems to be a better choice; the store is much smaller and therefore easier to secure, as well as being less popular so the chances of having to clear zombies out when we get there is lower (seriously, who actually shops at Bimart other than my mother?).
Our own apartment was ruled out fairly early due to the fact that I put very little faith in the construction of this building to withstand a wave of undead. Yes, Allen may own a sword, but in the confines of our living room I think we'd be more likely to chop off one of our own limbs while practicing our ninja moves than actually putting it to proper use.
In the end, Bimart seemed to remain our best option. It offers the most in terms of supplies, tools, and protection. So when the
Yes, we did talk about this for over an hour. Hush.
Sidenote: So, what happens when a friend is infected? Do you immediately kill them to avoid the possibility of their eventual turn endangering your entire group? Or do you wait until the moment they turn since, after all, they're still human up to that point.
My argument was to leave them alive. First of all, do you really have the heart to kill them? Really? They're still human, you know. Could you be such a cold hearted bastard? Ok, even if you could, hear me out.
While still alive, this person can offer necessary utility to the group. Now that their life is basically forfeit, they could provide a much needed diversion or be the one to make the heroic sacrifice that tugs at the audiences' heart strings. Of course, this all depends on the turn time; the average time seems to be several hours. Considering most people don't even seem to last that long uninfected, why needlessly kill off a useful member of your party prematurely? Also, if you let them live you can get a better understanding of how the plague spreads, how long it takes to turn based on the severity of their injury, and other very important data you may need to not only survive, but ultimately defeat the king zombie.
Plus, how badass would it be to have a zombie friend? Think about it.