“TO ME!” Big Carl yelled just before it slumped to the ground dead. The group heard dozens of moans and saw zombies begin to pour out of every door way inside the engine room. Grim Walker yelled at the group to fall back to the machine shop and people began to move back. Tabitha Ross hung back a bit to make sure that everyone had gotten through the door safely. Soon, everyone was through the door, except for Howard Barclay and Tabitha. Tabitha tried to wait for Howard, but he yelled at her to move and she did.
Once everyone entered the machine shop, Troy, one of the Disney Magic engineers, collapsed from his infection. Grim yelled for everyone to form a horseshoe around the doorway. His plan was to attack the zombies one at a time as they came through the door. Tabitha began dragging Troy away from the door and was yelled at by Grim for breaking rank, but Tabitha ignored him. Kevin Cole ran back into the hall and with a few bits of metal, wedged the door so that it would not move and only one zombie could enter at a time. He then ran back into formation. Once Tabitha had dragged Troy away from the door, Dr. Rivet took him and Tabitha ran back into position. A few seconds later the hoard of zombies attacked.
Over 30 zombies converged on the doorway. The doorway was pounded by the large numbers, but luckily being a sturdy fire door, it held. The zombies were funneled into a narrow channel allowing only one zombie to attack at a time. The group, in horseshoe formation, created a killing line. Kevin stood to the left of the doorway. Tabitha also stood on the left next to Kevin. Howard stood in the middle protecting the front, while the two engineers, Jacob and Hank protected the right flank. Behind Howard, protected by his riot armor, Grim attacked the zombies with his makeshift boar spear.
Dr. Rivet stood outside the circle with the infected engineer, Troy. Worried about the engineer turning, Dr. Rivet lifted him up onto a piece of machinery and tied him down. The sick man groaned in pain as the fever continued to burn. Dr. Rivet, concerned about his patient, looked him over. Once he determined that the man could not be helped, Dr. Rivet stationed himself to provide medical assistant if any of the defenders were to fall.
Zombie after zombie entered the room and died at the feet of the struggling survivors. The zombies pushed and shoved each other in an attempt to get at the group. A few times they succeeded in pushing someone out of position, threatening to break their line, but the group fought hard and pushed the zombies back. Soon the large number of dead zombies formed a wall in front of the door preventing the remaining creatures from advancing. This did not deter the obsessed creatures.
The zombies pushed against the pile of bodies and the bodies toppled on top of the group, moved by the sheer weight and numbers. Bodies fell around the group, who desperately attempted to stay in position. A few holes developed in their defense, but they were quickly able to recover and plug the holes again. With a semi-clear path the zombies began crawling over the remaining bodies, and attack the line again and again. After what seemed like hours, the last zombie was taken down.
Exhausted the group stood ready and waited to see if any further enemies would attack. The room was saturated with heat and steam. After a few minutes of waiting, all the group could hear was the sound of steam exiting the pipes and their own heavy breathing. Then as if to signal the end, the emergency the emergency generator died and all of the lights went out. The group stood with only their headlamps and flashlights for light.
As the group began clearing the bodies, Grim’s cell phone beeped, signaling an incoming text message. A few seconds later, Tabitha’s cell phone also began to beep with text messages. Both quickly read through the messages. Tabitha learned that a group of the cheerleaders had left the theatre to rescue Patricia Collins. They were able to find her and made it as far as the bridge before being blocked by zombies. Sarah Bishop’s leg was injured while the teenagers ran from the zombies. Tabitha feared the worst. The text messages also explained that the teenagers had found a small four year old boy and had taken him along with them to keep him safe.
Both Grim and Tabitha learned that Agent Smith and four other men in black had taken control of the theater and were demanding to know where Tabitha was. Agent Smith had also untied Adam Cooper. Cooper attempted to get the security officers to go along with Agent Smith, but they had refused. Their refusal lead to one of the security officers being shot and the other three tied up.
The violence did not stop with security, the text messages explained that all of the infected patients had been killed. Agent Smith and his men began beating on Dr. Bernstein asking him questions about Tabitha. Wanting to stop the violence, a group of survivors attempted to attack the agents and subdue them. The attempt was unsuccessful. In the end, Coach Sylvester and Thomas Miller were killed, Desiree Grubber was shot in the shoulder and Erik Dole was shot in the stomach.
This surprising information changed the group’s plan. Grim, thinking that the young boy might be his son Jassan, uncharacteristically wanted to immediately head up to the bridge. Howard explained that they still needed to get the power back on. The group argued about what to do. Howard asked Tabitha why the government agents wanted her. Tabitha did not know and told him about Agent Smith taking some of her blood up in the Stack. This news annoyed Howard and he yelled at Tabitha demanding to know why she had not told anyone. Tabitha was tired of being yelled at. She explained that she had told Dr. Rivet earlier, but had no idea why they would hurt and kill people to get her.
Tabitha, horrified at what was happening, told the group that she would turn herself in to Agent Smith. Grim told her that she needed to grow up. He told her that the rest of the world was most likely swarming with zombies and that she needed to worry about staying alive and not about sacrificing herself to save others. This did not go well with Tabitha, but she stayed quiet while yet another adult lectured her.
They continued to discuss its options and in the end decided that the group would search through the engine to ensure that no more zombies were around. Once cleared Hank Anderson and his crew mate Jacob would stay and work on getting power back to the ship. Everyone agreed with this plan and after checking to make sure that the infected crew member Troy was still alive, they headed into the engine room to search for zombies.
After 40 minutes they had determined that all of the zombies in this area had been taken care of. They were also able to close the three main valves to stop the steam from shooting out of the pipes. With the area secured they left Hank to his work and headed up the employee service stairs to the bridge. With the lights still out, the stair well was dark. The only light came from the flashlight they had used to distract the zombies earlier. They listened for a bit, but did not hear any zombies, so clicking on their flashlights; they cautiously proceeded up the stairs.
They made it up the ten decks to the bridge. They approached the door to the bridge and Grim knocked. Howard looked at Grim and mentioned that he had the key to unlock the door. Grim explained that he wanted to see how smart the kids were. After a few more knocks a voice came from the other side. Tabitha recognized Jonathon’s voice and explained she was with some people to help. Jonathon seemed relieved and soon the group could here furniture being moved away from the door. The group was quickly let into the room and the door relocked.
The bridge was a horrific sight. The room was splattered with blood and over a dozen bodies laid around the room. Bullet holes riddled the consoles. It was obvious that a large fight had taken place here. It was also obvious that it didn’t end well. Among the bodies, the group found the Captain, Bridge Officer Anderson and Security chief Joshua Ritter. All killed and eaten. The teenagers of Stanley High sat around the gore, obviously exhausted and frightened.
Patricia, seeing Tabitha, ran to her. The embraced and both cried, happy to see each other alive. Jonathon and Phil joined in.
Dr. Rivet immediately went over to where Sarah was sitting to examine her. He quickly realized that she was not bit, but her leg had been ripped open badly by some type of metal and she had lost a lot of blood. As the Doctor treated her, he learned that the wound was infected and began looking through his medical bag for medication. Before he could administer the medication, Sarah moved. She tried to speak, but had a difficult time. After a few tries, she was able to explain that she was allergic to penicillin. Luckily the Doctor had medication that was not penicillin based and continued to treat her.
Howard asked the teenagers to explain what had happened to them. Jonathon tried to explain what had happened to them, but his anxiety made it difficult to calm down. Grim was harsh in his attempt to calm Jonathon down, but it didn’t seem to help. Grim then asked someone else to explain what had happened and Phil took over. Their story was the same as what the group had learned from the text messages. Phil did explain that while they were running from some zombies, Sarah had ripped her leg open on a door frame.
Phil also mentioned seeing a black helicopter on the Wide World of Sports deck. Howard went to the window. The bridge was located underneath the Sports deck, but after a few minutes, Howard saw what appeared to be helicopter blade poking out above them. There was a helicopter on the deck above them. Howard looked around at the other decks. He had a clear view of the promenade of Deck5, where the life boats were kept. He noticed dozens of zombies on the promenade and after a longer look; he saw that the survivors from the Buena Vista Theatre attempted to lower a life boat. They did not survive.
Howard went over to Dr. Rivet to find out Sarah’s condition. Grim noticed that both Jonathon and Phil were carrying guns they had recovered from the dead security officers. Grim began lecturing them on gun safety and told them that they would only be allowed to carry the guns if they knew what they were doing. Phil explained that he had shot in a few competitions and was well versed in firearm safety. Grim decided to let them keep the guns.
While the boys were being lectured, Tabitha pulled Patricia aside and asked if she knew that Dillon was dead. Patricia said she knew and that Jonathon had broken the news to her. The girls cried and comforted each other. Tabitha felt terrible that Patricia had lost her boyfriend. Patricia and Dillon had been a great couple and the death of Dillon made Tabitha think about losing her boyfriend Scott.
After making sure that all the teenagers were ok, the group decided that the engine room was a more secure location. They searched the bridge for useful items and then headed down the stairs, back to the engine room. The trek down the deck flights of stairs was uneventful; apparently the doors to the service stairs were still intact. When they returned to the machine shop, they found Troy still alive but in a lot of pain, still tied to a piece of machinery.
They checked up on Hank and learned that he was less than 30 minutes away from getting the power back on. The group, exhausted from their trials all night, decided to get some sleep. Howard and Tabitha, who had recently taken her medication and did not feel tired, agreed to stay awake to watch out for trouble. Tabitha, having not much else to do helped Hank with the power situation. Howard began walking the deck to ensure the area was still safe. As he passed through the machine shop he heard knocking on the service stairs door.
Howard called out through the door asking who it was. The voice on the other side told him that his name was Cameron. When Howard opened the stairwell door, a teenage boy fell to the ground in front of him. Cameron had been severely beaten and was barely able to stand. As he fell, he dropped a walkie-talkie. Howard scooped it up and called for Tabitha. Tabitha arrived and was horrified to find Cameron in such a condition. Howard and Tabitha moved Cameron to an office and laid him on a couch.
Tabitha tended to Cameron’s wounds as Howard spoke with Cameron. Cameron explained that a group of teenagers and him had snuck out of the theatre to find Howard and the others. The group made it down two flights of stairs before the government agents found them and dragged them back into the theatre. Agent Smith had beaten Cameron, while asking where Tabitha was. Finally they let Cameron go and told him to find Tabitha, but kept the other teenagers in the theatre. He was on his own. Agent Smith also gave Cameron a radio to give to Howard when he found him.
After Cameron’s wounds were taken care of, Howard asked Tabitha to check on Troy. She left and went into the machine shop. She checked on poor Troy and found him still sick and still alive. She then broke down and cried. Howard turned on the radio.
“Hello?” Howard said into the radio.
For a few moments, he heard nothing but static, then the radio crackled to life. “This is Agent Smith of Homeland Security. Who am I talking to?”
“What do you want?” Howard asked ignoring the Agent’s question.
“I want the girl.” Agent Smith responded.
“Don’t play dumb with me. I want the girl named Tabitha Ross.” The Agent sounded angry at this point.
“I’m sorry, but she didn’t make it. She’s dead.” Howard said bluntly.
“Then bring her body to me.” Agent Smith responded, not really believing him.
Howard turned off the radio. He sat down on the couch and looked at the radio in his hand. He thought to himself, what the hell was going on?