Sunday, November 24, 2013

#BC

#BB

Dear diary,

Today was our big day. Or sort of, I guess. We have chosen another name to call ourselves though, the Zed Resistance Group, after Mike told us that he was merely joking about our previous name, Just Kill Zed. It sounded too cheesy and lacked the professional factor in it, he said, after we concluded our first ever group discussion in the empty convenience store. Sitting there listening to Julie talk about our tactics, mission and vision, gave me the impression that we were finally doing something important. I call it the inaugural meeting of the ZRG.

It was the start of something at least, I thought. It was funny seeing how four untrained individuals, perhaps with the exception of Mike, could have made it so far together. From a random collection of survivors, we have undergone so many experiences together and it lead us to become who we are today, a group of hopeful zed resistance fighters.

I do not know if we could be counted as an official group, or whether having a name to identify ourselves under would make any difference in the bigger struggle against the zeds. We have not even made any offensive moves against the zeds. But I guess it kind of give us hope. Besides, having a name to go by sounded way much cooler to me.

"Hey, I am from the Zed Resistance Group," I could so imagine myself saying, pushing up my sunglasses to reveal my blue eyes as the damsel that I had just saved looks admirably at me. Her eyes would be blue too, her golden hair swaying in the wind, as I take a puff from my cigarette amidst the pile of dead zeds around me.

"Are you ready?" came Daniel's voice, cutting my daydream. We were in the middle of packing our supplies and belongings, to prepare for our journey later. A lot were discussed in our inaugural meeting. Daniel, with his training in the Singapore Navy as a naval diver, came up with an initial suggestion of what we could do. He told us of how during his time with there, the Singapore Naval Diving Unit has been experimenting with a new prototype of diving unit called the Bräger TER V, which uses a closed circuit breathing system. He said the closed circuit diving system is akin to an invisibility cloak, that would let us approach the zeds without them noticing. The rest of us probably looked lost by then, so he went on to explain that instead of the normal scuba diving system that we normally see everywhere, where the gas we exhale is released to the environment, the Bräger TER V stores and recycles it. Meaning that there would be no CO2 released. It was an equipment that was used in stealth diving missions to avoid the enemies from seeing you, and he wondered if it would work against the zeds. After all, they do depend on our CO2 discharge to detect and track us, and he said that perhaps it could be used for us to fight against the zeds as an invisible army.

Questions were of course raised. How mobile was the equipment? How feasible was it? Would the cost of using the equipment outweigh its supposed benefits? And ultimately, would be a waste of time? We discussed at length what we could do. Everyone participated in the meeting enthusiastically. I, of course, was jotting down the points that everyone was raising as fast as I could.

By the end of it, a few things were clear. Until we have more manpower, we could only depend on guerilla tactics. It would be suicide for us to face any group of zeds head on, so a hit and run strategy would be the most suitable for us. Other than that, we would depend on melee weapons for the time being, as none of us knew how to operate a gun (with Mike again being the exception, though he mentioned he could train us) and neither do we know where to obtain them. There was also the risk of the guns attracting the zeds due to its noise. As for Daniel's idea, we decided that while the reasoning behind it was good, ultimately it would allow us to only kill a few zeds before being overwhelmed. It would be suitable for us to sneak around in it, but it would be too risky for us to use it for the purpose of eliminating the zeds. However, it would not hurt for us to try and obtain it, so in the end it was decided that we would try and search for it. Daniel said that the last time he had heard of the equipment was during his time at the Sembawang Naval Base, located at the north border of Singapore, overlooking Malaysia. Since we were in the west area, and since we had hoped to search for survivors, we thought that it would be a good idea anyway to visit a military installation. After all, we reasoned that military facilities may have the highest chance of being a safe ground for survivors.

Perhaps the best idea that we came up with that night was how we are going to adopt traps instead to try and thin down the numbers of the zeds. Mike had studied about warfare tactics before, and from what he has learned, when you need to hit a force that is larger than you, you have to use tactics that allow you to take out the biggest number of the enemy combatants using the least amount of resources. From what has happened so far since the outbreak, it would not be wrong for us to view the zeds themselves as an invading force, far more superior in numbers than us. However, for what they have, they lacked the ability to think like we do, and appeared to be driven purely by the more basic impulses, such as hunger. What we may lack in numbers, we make it up for it through our tactics. He drew parallels to what I have experienced in the mall, from how simple traps to elevator steps could slow down the zeds. Had we made the traps to be lethal, we might have just took down a few zeds that day itself.

It was certainly a rosy picture that Mike had painted, but I was bound to agree. One way or another, the zeds bore a stronger resemblance to how we were when we were still babies. Although they were still able to see, hear, smell and even detect traces of carbon dioxide, they had poor awareness to their surroundings. They were also very bad in body movements and coordination. While they can run, they were not able to avoid obstacles. Even a single staircase could slow them down tremendously. It was not like they could not climb the steps though, but instead of using both their legs to advance up, the zeds would usually trip and fall at the first step. Then they would literally climb up using their hands and body, just like how a toddler would when they first learn how to navigate around a staircase. The zeds do it a bit more violently of course, but in essence, there was not much difference. Like I said before, it seems that the zeds had regressed to an earlier stage of development. Perhaps this was due to them not having to use any complicated mental processes anymore, I theorized, and hence how shooting the brain no longer have any effect.

It took us a good few hours to finally conclude our plans and by the time we finished, I was hopeful. No more idly sitting around waiting for time to pass, I thought. It's funny how Maslow had originally posited that humans would first try and fulfill its basic needs like food and shelter first before going for self-actualization goals, but in my case at least, even though I may have everything basic that I needed, I doubted on my ability to survive for long. I would die from the lack of purpose if you ask me. While it is true that we would search for the basic things up first, but somehow, I felt that having a sense of meaning itself is the driving force for all the needs below it. Without a sense of purpose or identity, perhaps even when one is given food in starving condition, one would still ignore it. I know how some who would rather die than to live on when their life cease to have any meaning. And some would strive for the higher needs first before even thinking about those on the lower hierarchy. Those who go on hunger strikes, or great figures like Gandhi for example, are those few exceptional cases who did not go according to what the hierarchy of needs had predicted. There were those who were willing to disregard their basic needs in order to achieve self-actualization. When the situation called for it, we as humans were able to seek for a higher level need. At least I believed that we were the only species that is capable of this.

I put my final item in my backpack, a portable torchlight, and zipped it close. We had to make sure that we only bring the necessary items in our backpack and should anything happen, it must be light enough to allow us to run with it. Of course, my pen and diary was part of the essential item that I included, along with enough food and water ration to last  me a few days. On top of that, I was also bringing a cricket bat with me. In case things got ugly. A folding knife hung from my wrist too, so if I decide to bring some zeds down, at least that would help. The cricket bat was more for protection than offense.

"Let's go, shall we?" Julie was already standing at the door. I gave her the thumbs up signal and smiled. Seeing that we were all ready to go, she gave smiled back reassuringly too, and proceeded to open the door to the outside world.

I was the third to step out after Daniel and like what we have done every other night, we proceeded along the walls, breathing as lightly as we can to minimize our chances in alerting the zeds. Just like yesterday night, we were lucky. The moon was shining brightly, and that meant that the zeds would most probably be outside of the train station that we were in. We had been in the mall next to this train station two nights before, stocking up our supplies, that was where I got my bat and knife, and had moved here yesterday night. Luckily for us, there was sheltered way connecting both places, and we used it to reach the train station while the dozen or so zeds that stood idly under the moonlight. It was not entirely easy though, as we had to commando crawl along the floor to avoid being seen by them. Thankfully it was only less than fifty meters. And yes, it was that easy to fool the zeds at night.

As we moved along the walls quietly in one single file, I could not help but to look at the remnants of what we used to have. The ticket machines, the gantries and the small shops in the station, this was a place that people pass by everyday in their journey to earn a living. If anything, train stations was one of the places where Singaporeans spent a majority of their life in, due to crazily high price of a car. But like everywhere else, only the lifeless brick walls, glasses and steel beams remain.

We reached the gantries of the station and one by one, we crawled underneath it as all the gantries appeared to be closed. There was still no zed in sight in the station, though we can see them far away outside, under the moonlight. Our theory about zeds avoiding structures and dark places still stood.

As Mike slid his bag across the floor, I looked around me. The elevators had stopped working of course, which means that we would have to take the staircase itself. One thing good about the train tracks in Singapore is that they were either above ground or below ground, and even if they were on the same level with the ground, it was often fenced up. This makes that the train tracks themselves an excellent way to travel in between places as the zeds would have a harder time reaching you when you are either so high up or so far down. Even if you meet zeds on the tracks, all you need to do is to dispose of them without worrying about the chances that you will be overwhelmed. Once again, the idea came from Daniel.

The sign overlooking the abandoned tracks read Woodlands, which is slightly west to our intended destination. I checked the directory to see how far we would need to go, and was relieved to see that we were only two stops away. I raised my hand and showed two fingers to the rest to indicate our distance, and they nodded. We gathered next to the barrier between the platform and the tracks, and went through our plans one last time in whispers.

Our goal right was to reach Sembawang station before sunrise, which should be easier now since it was only two stations away. If we were to encounter any zeds on the tracks, if they were few in numbers we would take them on, but our aim is to knock them off the elevated tracks, not kill them. If they were too huge in numbers and we have no confidence to take them on, we might need to back track. Our goal, as a group, is to watch out for each other and to ensure all of us reach our destination safely. We would discuss about our subsequent plans once we reach Sembawang. And as a reminder, we were to keep conversations to a minimum. Use hand signals if we can and if we must talk, whisper.

"Let's rock." Julie said with a confident smile. She can be such a great speaker when she talks. I was personally getting pumped up and ready to go.

The barriers themselves were open, so we would not have to risk detection by trying to smash them open. We slowly climbed down the tracks itself, throwing our bags down first before stepping off the platform. The rocks underneath our feet felt rough, and I was secretly glad that I was wearing a sports shoe. It was a Nike brand shoe that I got two nights before from a sports shop from the mall. The shelf read that it was for running and had a 300 dollars price tag on it, and I took it simply because it was the most expensive shoe in the whole shop. It was something that I could never afford back in my university days as I was surviving on my brother's money. Turns out the apocalypse was not entirely bad after all. The next thing that I wanted to do, if fate permits, was to walk into the LV shop near the Marina Bay Sands hotel and cart their most expensive item away, just for the fun of it. Perhaps give it to the damsel that I will be saving in the future. But that would have to wait.

The bright moon illuminated our path as we journeyed quietly along the track, Daniel in front, Julie second, me third and Mike the last. As we were above ground, we could see how the world beneath us looked like if we want to. It was not often that we get a chance to see how the world has changed as we spent most of our time indoors, and I personally did not let it go to waste. I took a peek of what was around and below me every chance I get, just to see how things have changed. I remember taking this route a long time ago, but instead of looking outside of the window, my eyes were glued to the phone in my hands. Instead of admiring the scenery, I was busy killing zombies using plants. Funny how things turned out in the end.

The dark outline of buildings hung in the in background, devoid of any life that used to live there. I tried to picture how things used to look like back in the days. How the buildings would be filled with individual lights, how the street lamps would cast their dull orange glow unto the road as cars zoomed under them and how the trains would hurtle across the track, carrying commuters of all shape and sizes. But now, all we have is darkness and four lone souls moving silently across the tracks.

I tried to take a peek below to see if there were zeds around us, and sure enough, dozens of zeds stood in the open road, just swaying on the spot. I guessed they must be enjoying the moonbath tremendously. The thought of them being no different from plants came to my mind again. I moved myself closer to the edge of the track to get a better look at them. It was hard to make out their exact features, but something further up caught my eyes. It was the unmistakable green pattern of an army uniform that I have seen so many times during my time here. There were about six to seven of them, milling about next to an overturned army truck. The glint of their weapons lying on the ground, rifles I guess, caught my eyes. So the army has in fact been mobilized, I thought. I could only imagine how the truck, carrying the soldiers, was speeding to either escape to zombies or to reach a location when it hit something and overturned. The soldiers, either injured or dead, was left to the mercy of the approaching zed horde. I shuddered at the thought of being caught out in the open with tons of zeds around me. There were a few vehicles both on the road and off the road too. I guessed the owners of the vehicles must have left the safety of their vehicle, thinking that perhaps they had better chance on foot.

The scene only got messier as we progressed. There were more overturned cars and zeds below us as we neared the first station. A hint of putrid smell lingered in the air too. It was not until we reached our first stop that we finally saw the remnants of a battle against the zeds.

#BD

*****

P/s: As this is a work in progress and as I am trying to finish the story before November ends and not forgetting that I have work from 9-6 everyday, there might be grammar errors here and there and if you spot one, I would sincerely apologize for it. I am looking to publish this story, so if you spot any spelling or grammar mistakes, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know by dropping a comment after each post. Proofreading your own work is confusing after all. I won't forget your kindness!





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