Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.
Part 5, Home Front USA; Chapter 4, Roy Elliot.
Roy’s tale is very different from the previous tales.
Unlike some other refugees who are deemed an F-6, a person of no useful skill-set, he manages to find a use for his pre-war vocation. That of a film maker.
He explains about a condition now labelled as ADS.
Asymptomatic Demise Syndrome, or, Apocalyptic Despair Syndrome, depending on who you were talking to.
How this condition had cost the lives of hundreds of people every day, simply because these poor souls had lost the will to try. They were not suicide cases. So many people had finally found a safe area to rest their weary bodies and simply did not wake up again.
Roy found a way to use his old skill-set to do some good for a lot of people who were suffering from ADS.
His landmark movie “Victory at Avalon: The Battle of the Five Colleges”, made quite the difference. It was not an immediate effect on the communities where the movie was shown, but it had the effect of a pebble in a lake. A ripple effect.
As it turns out, the very night after Avalon made its “debut,” ADS cases dropped in LA by a whole 5 percent!
That ripple effect only grew with time.
What is truly amazing about Roy is that he had no funding but his own money, no endorsement from the officials. The government either didn’t see the importance of what Roy was attempting or simply didn’t have the time & resources to plan it all out. They had a monumental task ahead of them and Roy’s proposition would have gotten lost in a sea of requests.
Luckily Roy had his own pool of resources to tap in to, namely his former associates of camera operatives, film editors, sound editors & so on.
With the growing success of his Avalon film, Roy then sought to expand. More films were made & like the first, produced en mass & distributed as far & wide as possible.
Roy and his colleagues had so much success with giving hope to the people that the government had no choice but to pay attention, not only to Roy’s films but to the ADS problem as a whole.
He was allowed access to the military and his film, “Fire Of The Gods”, further helped his audience from their despair. He filmed the “Zeus” and “MTHEL” functioning laser weapons programs in all their glory despite the “gross waste of resources” that they both embodied. He states that the people were waiting for science to save them, that’s what they were used to. After all, if science cures cancers & sends satellites into space then why not turn to science for salvation from the zombies hordes.
The truth was that we were standing at what might be the twilight of our species and that truth was freezing a hundred people to death every night.
Roy, his fellow film-makers, especially his compadre Marty who filmed “The Hero City”, simply & openly lied to the survivors and he makes no excuses about it. These film-makers had an honest agenda.
There’s a word for that kind of lie. Hope.
Christina sounds like one hell of a fiery individual. It wouldn’t be a sensible thing to cross her, of that I am sure.
At the beginning of her story she practically mourns the loss of the aircraft deemed too expensive to fly. So many aircraft grounded & put in to storage. I can see why, against an enemy like Zack an FA-22 is pointless. And so America’s airforce was “reduced” to air drops.
Airborne resupply was our primary objective, the only one that really counted anymore.
She has a map on the wall of her office marked with all the “islands in the Sea of Zack”. The safe zones, military facilities, pre-war factories & power stations and of course civilian areas.
It was a massive operation, not just in terms of aircraft and fuel, but organization as well. Remaining in contact with all these islands, processing their demands, coordinating with DeStRes, then trying to procure and prioritize all the materiel for each drop made it the statistically largest undertaking in air force history.
See, the air force was even more vital than ever before, but not for the reasons it was originally intended. Perhaps that is why Christina comes across as slightly proud. A pilot may have to fly over Zack-infested areas, using slightly antiquated aircraft. Hundreds if not thousands of miles of territory populated by nothing but zombies. She states that the fleet survivability rate was up to 92 percent, but that was after measures were taken to improve re-fuelling options & repair facilities. I’d hate to think what the survival rate was prior to all these improvements. How many pilots & crews were lost, I can only hope they had the means to evade the zombies if they crashed in an infested area.
Those “Blue Zones” on her map that are civilian populated, one of Christina’s jobs was to fly specialists in to those areas. Most time they couldn’t land and those specialists would have to parachute in. Doctors, engineers, instructors; she has a lot of respect for these individuals as these “Blue Zones” occasionally got overrun by the infected. If someone crashed near a “Blue Zone”, they may have been running to safety but it seems that may not always have been the case. A scary prospect.
Christina then gets down to the nitty gritty. She was a part of that terrifying 8 percent.
She isn’t sure what brought her aircraft down, but it’s immaterial isn’t it. She crashed. In a Zack infested “Purple Zone”. Sure some lazy people have caused a crash on occasion,
sometimes if hazardous materials weren’t packaged properly, or, God forbid, some shit-for-brains QC inspector let his people assemble their detonators before crating them for travel…that happened to a buddy of mine
but the why isn’t going to help any in a hairy situation like that.
The crash itself sounds positively terrifying, but then I cringe whenever I hear of any kind of air traffic accident, real or fiction. At least she seemed unharmed from being sucked out of the aircraft, was mobile & had her survival gear. Even if her bells had gotten rung good & proper. Obviously her mental state was shaken as she admits to making some pretty stupid mistakes, despite her training at the Willow Creek Escape and Evade and her original four years of cadet training at the Academy in Colorado Springs.
If it wasn’t for Rollins, my copilot, I’m sure I’da been a goner.
Rollins being the only other survivor of the crash, only to end up as zombie dinner. There were five of them, so wrapped up in eating away that they weren’t aware of Christina. Despite the amount of noise she was making. Lucky for her, raw deal for Rollins.
It was a skywatcher by the handle “Mets” that saved her bacon. Got her to get her brain back in to gear & think about surviving long enough to get rescued.
Mets dishes out some good information & verbally kicks Christina enough times to keep her moving & to not lose focus. To not lose hope.
I remember this chapter quite well, and there are a few interesting clues as to Mets’ identity.
follow what I’d learned at Willow Creek. I started to ask how she knew about Willow Creek
Still, it doesn’t take away from my re-reading, much like the rest of this book. Mr. Max Brooks has made each person as real as someone you might meet on the street or in the grocery store. Hardly surprising though, he has based a lot of these characters on real people, real experiences.
I do wonder who the basis for Christina was, calmly despatching 61 zombies in one shooting is unreal. She states that she was more like herself now than when she first hit the mud. She did have to get some sleep as she was tired & the sun was setting. Bloody fantastic alarm clock she has though; roughly about a hundred moaning, reaching zombies. All clamouring for insides to be on her outside. Good job they couldn’t reach her but it’s a doozy of a sight to wake up to. Her plan was to finally reach the relative safety of the I-10 highway just long enough for a rescue operation, Mets told her to use her training & get moving already. Pity she landed on a submerged rock & cracked her ankle. Turned an escape plan into a painful, desperate, frantic race. Second place gets eaten.
Of course she makes it, otherwise Max wouldn’t be talking to her but the closing passages of Christina’s tale, are very interesting. Reminiscent of Paul Redeker, with a few more twists.
Who cares who she was, or is? She was there when I needed her, and for the rest of my life, she’ll always be with me.