Dead... and Back is a survival horror Role Playing Game. The Anarchy Zones is its official setting - aliens, reanimates, and the ruins of 2055 America.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Former Actor on Former People

Back when I was in college, I'd hang around the movie lots on weekends or holidays. Some guy in a blue work shirt would come out carrying a clipboard and say we need "ten walkers, five sitters, and three reaction" or something like that. Show him a picture ID, sign your name, and you'd get to be an extra for the day. Get a T-shirt, or some tchotkie, twenty or so dollars, just for walking back and forth or sitting in a fake cafe pretending to eat.

The Zombie movies were a bit different though, and always the best. Those you got to be more active, sometimes the camera even focused on you, if ya hammed it up a little. Plus the fun of getting all the make up and some actual costume. But the best part was you always got a better brand of people at those ones. No one really thinks about them being the hero on the train, or the gladiator in Rome, but somehow everyone likes to buy into the undead mythos. We'd talk about what would happen, where we would hide from them - those of us who owed guns would boast about our shooting skills (even when we had none...). Of all the odd situations that could crop up in the movies, from aliens to werewolves - it seemed like zombies were the one thing you could handle in real life.

Which is why everyone is so insistent that these things are reanimates. They simply don't behave like they're supposed to.

In the early days, there were absolute tons of them, there were true sieges, waves of former humans crashing upon the malls and army bases, flowing through cities. But ever so quickly, they seemed to get smarter and smarter. Even the dumb ones don't just charge across open fields or walk into flames. Now they seem to stalk us.

I swear its just like combined arms teams sometimes. One of those cybernetic ones will smash through like a tank, others moving alongside to draw fire and flush out ambushes, even acting like polish mine detectors for the traps. Those horrid betas are like commandos, getting behind you in all the commotion. A lot of us are saying someone's "beta'd" instead of died cause thats what it is. Disemboweled by a claw from behind, or dragged up and out from a dark rafter. You lose more from any angle but the front... there are fistfights about who gets to be on the firing line rather than rearguard - because those taking the creatures head on are more likely to survive.

You can dodge them, you can deal with a few. But there are always more. If you don't absolutely destroy the body, it'll probably be the same ones again as well.

They never speak.

Funny fact. You probably know this by now, but it bears repeating. Most of your senses shut off when you sleep. The eyes are off even if someone pries open the lids, smell goes away, even touch - ever notice how hard you need to rock someone to wake them. The only warning that really works is sound - why we have alarm clocks and not shakers in the morning.

Reanimates don't make noise, you need to count on someone staying up all night, keeping an eye open all night and scanning everywhere. The same person that morning you got into a fistfight with over whether they'd be the ones you leave to the betas.

I feel like I'm an extra again. In one of those movies where only one of the principal cast survives the final reel, and I'm not the chaste brunette.

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