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Interactive Case #4: Zombie Outbreak! (Part 3)

Review Part I
Review Part II

Your friend has been bitten. It happens in a zombie outbreak. The important thing now is to get him some help before you run out of time.

Date: October 27, 2004
Place: Austin, Texas

Marla Stropnik. You've only been with her three months, but dammit if she isn't the one. You love just about everything about her. Her bright, hopeful outlook has an effect on everyone. Homeless people and crackheads tell her their life stories. She's a ray of hope in these dark, cynical times. Sure, she's no Einstein. She signs her e-mails to you with the Italian salutation "ciao" spelled as "chow." She thinks the baseball player Marilyn Monroe married was Joe Garagiola. But her essential goodness more than makes up for her intellectual shortcomings. She's the one. Marla Stropnik. You'd lay down your life for her. Well, maybe not your life, but you would surely sacrifice a limb for her. Which is why you're driving through Austin in the midst of a zombie outbreak, with a bite victim writhing around in the bed of your pickup truck. You have to stay alive and get to Marla and save her from this scourge.

But first, there's the matter of your aforementioned friend Greg. The poor bastard's been bitten by his own grandmother and you need to get him to a hospital for a vaccination. Like rabies, the zombie virus can be treated after the fact, but you've only got about six hours to get him the shot. And what better place than the Texas Department of Health, just a short drive north from where you are. You expect that the place could be chaotic, but you and your friend Travis have rifles and are willing to use them.

And then, as you pull into the parking lot, you realize you forgot one small detail: every other person in Texas owns a firearm. And most of them seem to be massing together in one angry mob at the Department of Health's front entrance. It's like the fall of Saigon: mothers holding babies over their heads, armed guards blocking the doors, wounded people dripping blood and howling with panic. Sure enough, the moment you pull up at the edge of the mob, the first shot is fired. And another. A bullet dings against your fender. You slam your pickup in reverse and burn rubber backing out of the lot. In your rearview mirror, you can see Greg drop his head a little in dismay.

Spirits sagging, you drive down the road toward the next hospital. "Every place is gonna be the same," says Travis, and he's right. "So what do you want to do," you ask. After a moment, Travis replies, "I say we rob a liquor store, go out to Town Lake, get drunk, talk over old times, and then..." His voice trails off. You're mulling over the implications of this when you spot an apparent accident scene in the road up ahead.

At first all you see are the vehicles: a Ford Focus overturned next to a utility pole; an SUV in the middle of the road, its front end crumpled; and an ambulance smashed up at the roadside. From what you can tell, the SUV crossed into oncoming traffic and caused the chain reaction collision. But as you draw closer, you see something truly astonishing: on the road behind the Focus is a zombie, cut in half at the waist, and both parts are moving! One of the vehicles must have hit it head on, precipitating the accident.

Travis is reaching for his camera when the proverbial light bulb goes off over your head: the ambulance might have vaccine!

A bird's-eye view
of your predicament.
You and Travis leave the truck in the middle of the road and help Greg over to the ambulance. The driver is dead, the other paramedic is missing and whoever was in the stretcher is gone. But no time to think about that. There, on the side of the floor, is a plastic case marked, "Human Zombie Immune Globulin." You open the case and find a vial, a syringe and a sheet of instructions taped to the top lid. The instructions state that you are to give five doses, intramuscularly, over the next 24 hours. Intramuscularly? What does that mean? Travis shrugs. "I guess, shoulder?" he says. "That's where I got my tetanus." So you draw the viscous fluid into the syringe, while Travis swabs Greg's shoulder with alcohol. "Ready?" you ask. Greg nods and closes his eyes and you plunge that sucker deep into his shoulder. "Jesus!" exclaims Greg, his eyes tearing up. "Hurry up!" You're trying, but it's like pushing Silly Putty through the eye of a needle; the syringe shakes in your hand and Greg mewls like a cat in heat the whole time. Somehow you manage to empty the contents of the syringe into what you assume to be Greg's shoulder muscle (he's a little on the doughy side). Mission accomplished; you pull the needle out and exhale. That's it. None of you are sure it will work, but at least you tried.

You're doing your best to clean and dress Greg's bite wound when you notice that Travis is nervous. This is no small matter, as the man has always had impeccable instincts. "What's wrong," you ask. "Shh," he says, and there, underneath the chirping birds and rustling leaves, you hear a low steady hum like that of a faraway race car. Or maybe it's an angry dog? And then you hear the sound of shoes dragging along blacktop. Hoping against hope, you poke your head out from behind the ambulance and your blood goes cold when you see them: five zombies, fanning out around your pickup truck. There's a sixtysomething Hispanic couple, two heavyset teenage girls, a guy in a paramedic's uniform and a shirtless black man (the patient from the ambulance?) It's the eyes that get you. The light's gone out in them. They could care less about you; you're a source of food, nothing more. Which is why their groans rise noticeably as they spot you. It's then that you realize you left your firearms back at the truck. "Crap," says Travis. "What do we do now?"

Well...answer the question?!
(Click the number corresponding to your choice)

Charge, beat the living maggots out of those zombies and reclaim your truck. Come on, you can do this! After all, didn't you earn a purple belt in tae kwon do in seventh grade?

Flee the scene. Run away. Run fast, run long, just run, and live to fight another day.

Draw the zombies away by running down the road away from the truck. As they shamble after you, Travis can help Greg to the truck, and then mow those suckers down and pick you up further down the road.

Proceed to Part IV of the case.

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