While noisy and less then comfortable, the six and a half ton trucks proved to be dependable transport across the crowded roadways, Riley slowing down enough to simply push the derelict vehicles blocking their path out of the way with minimal effort, the leaden sky over head growing darker as sheets of rain began cascading over the roads and echoing loudly off the armored metal roofs of the two machines.
Using the trucks CB’s to keep in contact the group proceeded at a steady pace eastward, dubbing the trucks “War Wag One and War Wag Two,” (Yes my players have read too many Death Lands novels) pausing only as the already dark sky became even blacker with the onset of night, pulling into an abandoned Motel 6 soon after. While Riley secured the vehicles against theft, (by temporarily removing the battery cables) and Heather gathered some hotel keys with her dogs close behind.
Finding the hotel lobby mostly deserted and previously ransacked, with busted snack machines and a broken front window, Heather quickly gathered keys to the rooms they had parked their vehicles in front of, hurrying out when she heard a low moan coming from the basement. (Followed by a low warning growl from her two dogs.)
Reporting the unsettling sound to the group upon her return, Jessy encouraged everyone to ignore it and secure themselves in their rooms for the evenings, Riley not so sure and mentioning there could be someone injured down below. After a brief discussion they decided to let whatever was in the basement stay there, and roll out a little after Dawn, no one really wishing to tempt fate by visiting the basement in the growing darkness. (unfortunately)
After deciding posting guards is largely unneeded this far frim any large spots of civilization the groups retired to their hotel Rooms, Heather and Renee sharing the single room, convincing Riley and Jessy to each to look after one of her dogs.
In the morning everyone was awoken by the sounds of motorcycles, lots of motorcycles quickly approaching the hotel, Riley rushing outside half dressed and hurriedly trying to reattach the disconnected battery cables as the rest of the group gathers their gear and prepares for a potentially violent confrontation.
Moments later the group find themselves surrounded by no less then two dozen bikers, (mostly on Harleys and other American models) a rag tag mixture of men and women in leather jackets carrying a variety of weapons dismounting and gathering around the tense group, a few of the riders looking at Riley in amusement, noticing him dressed in little more then his hearts & kisses boxer shorts with a M4 assault rifle slung over his shoulder.
Pulling off his helmet a larger man with several days growth of beard addressed the group, looking at Riley and letting out a friendly chuckle. “Usually when I do auto mechanic work I wear gloves and coveralls, never seen someone do it in kiss me tender boxers before.” Riley’s initial response was cut off by the resounding laughter of the group of bikers, the rest of the group even letting out a nervous laugh at the unexpected joke.
The mounting tension was rapidly dissipated when the leader spoke again, Identifying himself as Brad, leader of The Reapers, a group he described as “zombie slayers out to make the world a better place.” Outwardly shocked this biker gang wasn’t the violent crazies they first expected, the group briefly mentioned the moaning form the basement, and their bizarre encounter with the robed figures at the Airport a few days ago.
After dispatching a half dozen armed men to clear out the basement, Brad mentioned he’d heard similar stories from other survivors, and wasn’t sure what to think since he’d never seen them himself. Their discussion is interrupted by the sounds of gunfire from the motel lobby, a couple minutes later the half dozen bikers returned yelling in triumph, swinging three rotted heads about for all to see, Brad only giving them a smile of approval.
Over breakfast, the group filled Brad in the rest of their travel details, deliberately keeping the specifics of their latest adventures somewhat vague so as not to unwittingly endanger the town they had left Jamie and Tommy in. (Since it had been a while since our lest session, this “recap” by all the characters served as a great way to get the group back on track and remind them of everything that had taken place in previous sessions without boring everyone with a rather dry re-reading of campaign notes or re-listening to hours of session .mp3's.)
After finishing their tale the group was surprised by Brad’s offer of free medical treatment by his group’s doctor, Riley and Jessy happily agreeing, Riley glad to have his injury treated by a real doctor rather then the groups dubious medical skills. After joking with riley about the possibility of needing to amputate his butt cheek, the young medic, a man in his early twenties finished patching them up and wished them best of luck, politely refusing their offer of payment in bullets or rations. (Which made the group initially suspicious until Heather pointed out to Riley “maybe he just likes guys.”)
Saying their goodbyes the group was warned about a strip of interstate ahead of them known as “Hamburger Lane” Brad recounting how there seemed to be a wrecked convoy of buses along that strip filled with crawler zombies and some nasty fast moving child zombies.
After hearing how The Reapers had lost almost a dozen men to the area the group pondered taking a detour, but decided instead to plow straight on through at top speed when they encounter it, feeling the danger they knew was better then the danger they didn’t.
Saying their goodbyes the group returned to their transport trucks and headed back off down the highway, feeling refreshed and confident (perhaps overly so) they could handle any danger that came their way.
* * * * *
Will the Hamburger Lane prove to be more then the group can handle? Will their new found confidence be validated in the upcoming trials? Will their first run in with the Reapers be their last? Find out in the next adventure synopsis, #16!