We watched them limp into our encampment. Our fingers never strayed far from hilts and triggers; we didn’t expect the new arrivals to be in the most convivial of moods. The first to arrive were the Hollywood gang. Their vehicles were a fearsome sight, caked sunroof to tire-tread with stale zom-blood, bits of bone, and scraps of moldering clothing. Those who had windshields didn’t enjoy a visibility advantage for long before their wipers mired in the congealing ichor or were broken off by the grasping, clawed digits of the Hollywood Dead.
Cougar maneuvered to the head of our small company and waited. Top down, the setting sun alight in her long auburn hair, she regarded those who came. She caught the eye of a familiar face. “Baltar! Good to see you.” For a long moment, nobody breathed. Then Desmond Baltar leaned out over his driver’s door and spat out a tooth. I’m still not entirely convinced it was his. Then he grinned at mom.
““Traffic was a bitch.””
Desmond Baltar plowed that Cobra through over 2,000 former starlets, valets, and waitrons, some still moaning and trying to shove their screenplays through his windscreen even as he ran them down. Morton and Bean, his Mechanic escortees, are in Baltar’s debt as he drew plenty of teeth and bones off their slow and lightly-armored butts, at some cost to his own caboose. But speed and maneuverability helped considerably, preserving just enough HP to get him out of L.A. with dignity and fingers intact. That garish green paint though… it ain’t gonna buff out.
Major Joseph Talleyrand-LaRoche and his Pink Panther fared well… certainly better than the “blighters” and “bounders” who dared to stain the Panther’s skidplate with their gray matter and formerly-vital fluids. The Major purpled when Her Majesty’s Licence Plate suffered the indignity of a splattered eyeball all over one corner, but a few swipes with his pocket-handkerchief and his customary bluff humor (or humour) returned.
Rip Torn Van Winkle’s '55 Porsche Speedster served him better than James Dean’s Spyder did its late driver. Just ask Mr Dean himself; I do believe that’s his rather irate skull hanging from the sideview mirror. And all this time I’d heard he wasn’t buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. But those cheekbones… that’s definitely him. Think he can chew me an autograph?
Nervous Mike has made it through, though not without some damage. Matte black turns out to be an especially adhesive surface for viscera, and the Dead Carjackers of La Brea & Sunset can cling like cheap polyester to pantyhose. Turns out the wrong response is to give that zombie clambering through the passenger window the bird. Even worse is to give him a double-bird. Because he’ll eat them both.
Jacky Blacque had a terrifyingly close brush with oblivion on the way out of Hollywood. A writhing heap of broken bodies left behind by the speedier Scouts clogged the Melrose Avenue on-ramp to the southbound 101, and though the Unimog’s granny gear and mountains of SHITGO-fueled torque could scale that wriggling mountain of crackling bones and explosively-bursting vital organs, Jacky has learned a hard-won lesson: the slow and poorly-armored Mechanics shouldn’t venture far into hostile territory without accompaniment. Fortunately, all his wrench-wielding fingers are intact, so if we find a scrapyard nearby for parts, his recovery is assured… for a few License Plates, that is.
The legume known only as Beanbreath took on the second-highest number of bad (smelling) guys. Sure, we just started, but 2,736 zombies squished with no fingers lost would make George Romero blush. Still, a Mechanic self-aware enough to drive something called a Gremlin ought to know not to venture out where it’s dangerous unless you’ve got heavy guns covering your six (and nine and three and twelve, for that matter). Another close shave for the slow and lightly-armored Mechanic class!
Now Morton, he’s a farsighted Mechanic, and not one to make an unconsidered leap. He faced off against 2,400 anklebiters and hair-pullers, but he didn’t go in without help. He might’ve been a goner on his own, but with Baltar riding shotgun and pulling some of the nasties’ attention away from him, ol’ Mort is not, at the Romans would say, mort.
I didn’t hear “Honey” Mallone formally commit to an alliance, which worked out for the best for her anyway. Since that Twister Ford of hers is the fastest ride in the fleet, and she didn’t have to look out for nobody else, she sped down La Cienega, bowling through nearly 1,800 Deadites like they were made of cotton candy and Karo syrup (with a few hundred gallons of Red Dye #5) and only taking 9HP of damage, which I’m sure doesn’t even surpass her insurance deductible. Probably shouldn’t have gotten overconfident and stopped at that Carl’s Jr, though. The chocolate shake was yummy, but probably not worth the two fingers chomped off by the surly zombie at the drive-thru. Your handling takes a -4MV hit!
Dog “Mad Dog” Jackson bears the distinction of facing down the single largest crowd of enemies in the game to date: over 3,000 of the groovy ghouls did their best to scratch his paint, muss his hair, and piss in his punchbowl (to say nothing of sucking the marrow from his bones), but thanks in large part to his protection deal with Baltar, the Dog lives to bite another day! Though he’d better be a Junkyard Dog and sniff up some parts, but quick!
Riverside Results coming up next!