Three long years passed. Ban kept his group together, sometimes it seemed by force of sheer will and
By that time, they reckoned they could survive anything. Then the bombs hit.
The real ones, ostensibly to “separate” the infected from the living. Too bad they killed living folk before
that could happen.
And the figurative ones, fliers dropped from aircraft. “So sorry, but in order to preserve the Nation, your
government is pulling back to the coasts, keeping the mountains between us and the outbreak. Hold on.
We‟ll be back to get you soon. Maybe.”
So, when the military Humvee pulled up outside their dorm a few months later, it was understandable that
no one was feeling all that patriotic.
They marched in like they owned the joint. One of them jumped on top of a
dinner table while the other two flanked him on either side, standing at ease.
“My name,” he bellowed over the catcalls, “is Lt. Colonel Otis Randall. I stand before you today
in direct violation of my sworn duty and guilty of both desertion—”
He paused for emphasis.
“—and high treason.”
“That‟s what the politicians would tell you—if they had the guts to stand
before the people they abandoned and look them in the face.”
The colonel straightened, right hand raised and recited, “I, Otis Randall, do
solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution against all
enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the
same; and that I will obey the orders of the President and the orders of the
officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of
Military Justice. So help me God.“ *
* U.S. oath sworn by military personnel with name of country removed.
“Are you shitting us?” sneered Franklin. “Who the fuck cares about that? Fat
lot of good your oath did any of us.”
“Hear him out,” Ban said. The group settled down, but they weren‟t happy.
The colonel nodded his thanks and continued. “That oath is why I could not in
good conscience follow orders telling us to withdraw to SimCity. What the
government ordered us to do was in direct violation of our Constitution.”
“I‟m not the only soldier who feels like that. Some of us question the legality of those orders. Others
have ties to the area and refuse to leave the people who‟ve fought so long and so hard to the
ravages of the zed.
“I believe—we believe—that this war isn‟t lost, that we can beat the zed once and for all. We have
the knowledge. We have the skills. We have the ordinance.
“We don‟t have the manpower, not any more.”
“You aren‟t the only conclave of survivors in the area, not even the only one at this university.”
The students nodded. The Tri Var Sorority had put together a surprisingly effective group of
their own. There‟d even been talk of joining forces, but neither building was large enough to
house both groups. Both leaders felt it was too dangerous to attempt to secure and move to a
larger building on campus. The groups stayed in their respective safe houses, but they helped
each other out when necessary, shared supplies and organized scavenger raids and hunting
Some of them laughed outright, others muttered among themselves. Ban cocked his head thoughtfully.
“We don‟t know you from Adam. How do we know you‟re not setting yourself up as some tin-plated
The colonel didn‟t answer him directly. Instead, he asked, “You‟re Hope, aren‟t you?”
“Who wants to know?” Snapped Tom, but Ban held up his hand to quiet him and answered.
“That‟d be me. You got a problem with that?”
“Not at all. Some people might believe you were the one setting yourself up as dictator. You created
this little utopia of yours. You made the rules. You obviously have these fine people here eating out of
Ban snorted and muttered something about herding cats before Colonel Randall continued.
“So you deny wanting to see yourself in charge of this area? A self-appointed king?”
Franklin Boyd had had enough. “You do not come into our place with your soldiers and
your guns, act like you own the joint, throw your weight around and then start making wild
accusations about the one person who held it all together while your people were off
Randall smiled. Ban frowned. This guy was playing them. He‟d
expected that response.
“And that, people, is the kind of loyalty and fire we can use just now.”
“I intend to take this fight to the zed and take back this country for this country. That‟s it.
Nothing more. Nothing less. I need volunteers. I can‟t pay you. But I can feed you. I can
even find you a weapon, but if you come with your own, all the better.
“We‟ll be starting in Cox County. The outbreak began there, and they‟ve been the hardest
hit.” He paused. “And they need us the most.”
He looked directly at Ban. “Don‟t you agree, Mr. Hope?”
Ban barely registered the question. Cox County—Home.
“I need to visit Tri Var with the same call to action. I‟ll be back here at—” he glanced at his
“—at 1800. That‟s six o‟clock to you civilians. Think about it. Talk it over. Any of you who
want to do what‟s right for this great country of ours, come see me when I get back.”
He hopped from the table and strode out. His two flunkies executed perfect about-faces and
took up positions three paces behind him. The group exploded into excited conversation as
soon as Reynolds and crew were out the door.
“What do you think?”
“Don‟t know. I‟m glad we aren‟t being left for dead, that‟s for sure.”
“You going to sign up?”
“Haven‟t decided. Hey, I wonder what Abandon thinks? Ban?”
“Ah, yes. How could I forget? The great Abandon Hope sees all, knows all. Well, I have news for
Tom crossed the room and dumped his armful of notebooks and papers on Ban‟s desk.
Ban glanced at it before resting his head in his hands. He had the month‟s rotation and
ration schedule yet to figure out, the pipes were acting up so much that he had to seriously
consider building latrines, and now the Army had come sniffing „round trying to poach
people they needed. He had the mother of all headaches, and Tom Barton sure as hell
wasn‟t making any of this any better.
All those problems, and the only thing he could think about was Lindsay. He glanced at the
“Looks like a load of mumbo jumbo to me. Fuck that. I ain‟t got time for more of your
“That‟s five years of research on the H7N1 virus, Olduvai Research
“Ten years ago, Olduvai Research contracted with the Government to begin work on a serum that would create soldiers
who were stronger, could fight harder, survive longer and in all ways dominate opposing militaries.
“Nine years ago, they sent Dr. Raymond Hamblin to head the research division of the new facility built in a small corner
of Cox County. Dr. Hamblin wasn‟t a medical doctor. He had degrees in Biochemistry, Virology, Microbiology and
Genetics. But you probably recognize him more as Old Doc Hamblin, the doctor hired by your school district to perform
physicals on any student wishing to try out for team sports.”
Ban clenched his fists. “Hockey. I wanted to play hockey.”
Tom nodded. “Hamblin already had your medical records. He knew you‟d never seen a doctor except for required
inoculations…and that one time you fell on the ice and broke your femur.”
“They were all pretty worried about that.”
“Ban, your leg healed in two weeks. Two. Weeks. That just doesn‟t happen.”
“What are you saying? That I‟m some sort of freak? Wolverine or something?”
“Last time I checked, your bones consist mostly of calcium, not adamantium.”
“I don‟t get it.”
Tom sighed. “You‟re Patient Zero because Hamblin took samples of your DNA and mutated them with his virus to
concoct his serum. Do you remember your last Tetanus shot?”
“Yeah. Freshman year of high school.”
“That wasn‟t Tetanus. You were injected with the first recombined virus. Hamblin expected the virus to run its course
and mutate you into his first super soldier. But nothing happened.”
Ban scooted back his chair and stood. “Yeah. Done told you. Never been sick a day in my life.”
“Tests showed you were infected, just not affected.”
“Yeah. I get that. I‟m some sort of damned carrier. I—” he looked down. “I killed my father.”
“Get over yourself, Ban. The disease isn‟t spread that way. Your father was infected when Hamblin decided to
conduct a double blind study and inject his own employees—including the part-time help hired from your
hometown—with his recombined virus.”
“But…it‟s still me. My DNA. You said—”
“For the last time, it‟s not you. Hamblin pulled from your DNA, sure, but he recombined it with the inert
H7N1 and tweaked it into something completely different. Hamblin is the one who made your father sick.”
“And Mama? She wasn‟t injected. She got sick after Daddy and went downhill real fast.”
“According to records I…acquired…from the Facility, your mother became infected the same way many
females contract HIV.”
Ban‟s brow wrinkled like a puppy‟s. “Huh?”
Tom rolled his eyes. “They had sex, Ban.”
“I didn‟t kill my father.” He tried to wrap his head around that fact and couldn‟t. He‟d been so damn sure.
“No, you didn‟t.”
“Am I…am I contagious?” If his mother got sick when she and Daddy had—what about Ida?
“Not enough data. However, considering that Ida‟s healthy as a horse, I‟d say not.”
Ban narrowed his eyes.
“Oh, like you thought the fact that you two are humping like bunnies all over the dorm was some kind of secret? Get
“Seriously. That ain‟t none of your business.”
“It is when the noise keeps me up at night.” Tom walked away before Ban could respond to that bombshell.
“Read the papers. Or don‟t. You probably wouldn‟t understand them anyway. I still haven‟t worked out just
what your DNA coupled with the serum may have done to you, but you are not a carrier.
You did not infect your family. I thought you should know that.
“One other thing. You need to tell Ida you‟re leaving. The last thing you want me to do is helping her pick up
“Just when did you plan to tell me, Ban? Or did you think you could slink
out the back door and hope I didn‟t notice?”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. What bee flew under your fucking bonnet?”
He knew damn well he was what had set Ida off, but he sure as hell didn‟t like getting called on it.
„Sides, maybe it‟d be best to end things this way instead of breaking her heart if he didn‟t make it.
He had a pretty good idea what his chances for survival were. Let her hate him, not mourn him.
“Do not do that. Do not treat me like I‟m an idiot. You know damn well
I‟m talking about Colonel Randall‟s little army.”
““Or what, Ban? What? Put me in time out? Send me to my room without
my supper? Bend me over your knee?”
Ban‟s one shred of self-preservation jumped up and slapped his mouth
shut before he could allow as to just how much he‟d like that last option.
“Look, I didn‟t mean it that way!”
“I think you did. When will you get it through your thick skull that you do not get to
make those decisions for me? My choices, Ban. Mine. Not yours.”
“I know that. I know. But how can I do what needs doing if I‟m worried every second of
every day that you‟re lying hurt somewhere?”
“The same way we all do. You push it down deep inside and you cope. Don‟t you think I‟ll be worrying
myself sick while you‟re off fighting zombies and I‟m stuck behind the lines playing doctor?”
“Is this the same Abandon Hope who single-handedly took out a horde of zombies with nothing more than
a fire ax? That Abandon can do anything if he sets his mind to it.”
“I can‟t. Not without you. If something happens—”
“We‟ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I came into this with my eyes wide open, Abandon. Do you
honestly think I‟m that weak? We‟re in this together. Remember?”
He knew that. She‟d gotten him through the toughest time of his life. He
might have lost his mind if it hadn‟t been for Ida. She was perfect—
perfectly imperfect—a goddess of common sense and intuition and sheer
cussedness that he could never hope to approach. He was such an ass.
How the hell did she ever put up with him?
“Well?” she demanded.
“I said you‟re right. I remember. Hell, Ida. As if I‟m like to forget one moment of that day.
Hold on. Behind the lines?”
He just „bout yelped like a girl when she suddenly smiled and hugged him within an inch of his life.
“Now, was that so hard?” she asked him. “And, yes, you idiot. Behind
the lines. I may not have a medical degree, but I am a qualified EMT.
They need me.”
He was pretty sure he did a lousy job of disguising his relief. Ban, he told
himself, you are well and truly whipped. And damned if he didn‟t like it.
He thought about that. He‟d been holding off, but maybe. Yeah. Maybe.
“So…reckon this might be the time to get it all off my chest, huh?”
“Yeah?” Suspicion colored her voice. He couldn‟t say as he blamed her.
“So, yeah. There‟s something I been wondering about for a real long time now, Ida—”
“Hush up. You‟re spoiling my moment.”
Ban paused significantly, cleared his throat, then plunged ahead.
“Ida White, I don‟t know if we go together like oil and water or potatoes and gravy. But I
do know we sure as hell belong together. I can‟t think of any other woman in this whole
world I‟d ever want to say this to:
I love you like crazy, Ida. Please say you‟ll be my wife.”
“Oh. My. God. You‟re not joking.”
“A man‟s arms could get mighty tired holding up a box like this,” Ban
prompted when she didn‟t give him an answer immediately.
He suddenly found himself holding an armful of Ida.
She bopped him on the back of the skull.
“Is that a yes?”
“You bastard. Yes! Someone has to keep you in line.”
“I‟m hoping you keep me in line every day.” He thought about it some. “Every night, too.” He
thought some more. “Afternoons are nice.”
“Only with you.”
“Love you, Farm Boy.”
He smiled, remembering when they‟d first said the words. “I know.”
Two days later, under a dark morning sky, it was time for goodbyes.
I don't know what you're doin'
And I don't know where you are
But I look up at that great big sky
And I hope you're wishin' on that same
I wonder, I pray
And I sleep alone
I cry alone
And it's so hard livin' here on my own
So please, come home soon
(Come home soon)
I know that we're together
Even though we're far apart
And I'll wear our lucky penny 'round my neck
Pressed to my heart
I wonder, I pray
I still imagine your touch
It's beautiful missing something that much
But sometimes love needs a fighting chance
So I'll wait my turn until it's our turn to dance
I wonder, I pray
I sleep alone
I cry alone
Without you this house is not a home
So please, come home soon
I walk alone
I try alone
I'll wait for you, don't want to die alone
So please, come home soon
Come home soon
Come home soon
Come Home Soon ~ SHeDAISY
That wraps it up for the Prologue and Ban‟s Uni years. Obviously, nearly all of the plotty bits were staged. I showed you
part of Ban‟s actual Uni life in Chapter 1. There‟s also pic spam on my LJ.
I‟m playing the fourth generation of the Apocalypse, so it‟s still going strong.
I‟d like to particularly thank SilentLucidity and Treeag at MTS2 for the OMSPs and Freezer Clock respectively. I couldn‟t
have taken such great pictures without them. The stupendously horrific zombie skins were created by Trash_ at
Insiminator.org. Lastly, I‟d like to thank Pinstar for creating the Apocalypse Challenge and the Borg at Boolprop.com for
coming up with rules for the latter two expansion packs.
My thanks also to George Romero, Edgar Wright, Danny Boyle and Max Brooks for giving us such a variety of zombies.
I shamelessly stole ideas from all of these, most particularly Max Brooks‟ visualization of a world after World War Z.
Lastly, I‟d like to thank Ban for growing into
awesome Apocalypse-style clothes.
This must be a work outfit of some kind, since
I‟ve had a hack since forever (2005? 2006?) that
lets sims use work clothing. I‟d pull it if I could
remember the darn name. I‟ve had people
transition into professors, chefs, maids and in
one memorable transition, the llama.
The gigantic belly button does freak me out,
I never saw his workout gear, but get a gander at
his jammies (bear feet and camo!) his outdoor
wear (spiff!) and his LOL Cat leopard undies.
This is Ban, so you can imagine which outfit I
Before you ask, that dance shot was taken after
Ida lifted Dance.
Thank you for reading. Next up, Hopelessness! For realsies! (ONTD_ST
Have one last pic of Ban attempting to set fire to his hair. Until next time,
don‟t do anything Ban wouldn‟t do!