2 Cover Up Road, Curious Observatory: Team Curious
Jenny: Everyone, thanks for coming at short notice. I know it’s difficult for us to get used to losing, and getting back PT9 in such a short time…. but we need to focus on the bigger problems at hand. Pascal, Vidcund, tell us what you saw last night through the telescopes.
Pascal: A group of zombies shuffling through the street.
Vidcund: Seems like they came from Beaker Castle, walked across the main street, and made a beeline for Specter’s house.
Pascal: Just the other day, Vid and I tailed the pizza girl who delivered pizza to Jenny’s house… and guess where the pizza girl went next?
Lazlo: Strangetown Cemetery. I mean, Olive Specter’s house.
Vidcund: We barely escaped.
Lola: So you think Specter killed the pizza girl?
Jenny: The pizza girl died long ago. Now she’s back as one of Specter’s zombies.
Johnny: So? What are we waiting for? Let’s kick some zombie boolprop the next time they are on the streets!
Jill: Fighting zombies? Cool!
PT9: No fighting! We must not fight those zombies. We don’t know what kind of powers they possess. Besides, who says the zombies are from Specter? We know the Beakers are crazy scientists. And have you seen that crashed spaceship close to their house? I think they’re the problem we should be focusing on.
Vidcund: Hmm… as creepy as Beaker and Specter’s houses are, if we need to fight them there, then we must.
Pascal: Either way, we need a plan… and contingencies.
Chloe: Can’t Dad just send an army of Colony Drones to their houses or something?
PT9: Of course I can’t. Let the scientists think of a plan.
Lola: Or can we just call the police and let their SWAT team handle this?
PT9: The last thing we need is police attention. Do we want to alert them to the other weird things happening in Strangetown?
Jenny: Girls, PT has been through a lot. Give him a break. Pascal, any ideas?
Pascal: We can only spy on them from long range. But in order to finish them, we need to do close combat.
Johnny: (thinking) I hope we don’t have to fight them in Ophelia’s house.
Vidcund: In other words, we are all on standby now, for they may reappear anytime.
Jill: Fighting zombies! Sounds fun!
Jenny: No, Jill. You’re too young for this. We’ll figure out somewhere safe for you to go.
Jill: (disappointed) No?
PT9: Later, Jill. Go play chess now. The adults need to talk.
Lazlo: Our house up on this hill is good for observing, but won’t the zombies see us charging down the hill?
Vidcund: Good point, Lazlo. I think Jenny’s house is a better base for our “troops”, being nearer to the main street.
Jenny: Of course. All of you are free to stay at my house for as long as you need.
Pascal: But at any point in time, two of us brothers must be stationed here to access the telescopes.
Vidcund: Jenny, when your house gets the signal from ours, get ready to strike.
Lola: Do we take them directly on the streets, or do we wait to see where they go this time?
Chloe: Good question. Why were the zombies at Beaker’s house first?
PT9: I don’t know. But maybe, we can have someone spy on the Beakers. I want to volunteer.
Jenny: PT? How will you do that?
PT9: Umm… never mind. Forget what I said.
Johnny: Dad, you should rest.
Jenny: Yes, I’ll also stay to help treat anyone who gets wounded. PT and I will keep Newton safe. Don’t worry, Pascal.
Pascal: Thank you, Jenny. Speaking of Beaker’s house… Nervous Subject has not been seen around town for about a week.
Lazlo: Normally he comes over every few days, and beats me to all the good stuff in our fridge.
Vidcund: What connection do the zombies have with Nervous? Are they after him?
Lazlo: Maybe Nervous visited the old lady Specter and raided her fridge.
Jenny: Wait… I seem to recall… this old rumor that Olive Specter once had a son, when she was still in Midnight Hollow. He was taken by social services as a toddler. Could Nervous be… this lost son?
Pascal: Who knows? It may be possible, but they look nothing alike!
Jenny: Pascal, people won’t be able to tell that you and me are siblings just from looks alone.
Pascal: Very true.
Lola: Maybe she adopted him?
Chloe: Or she kidnapped him from another family.
Jenny: Lola, Chloe… maybe you could discuss your family conspiracy theories another time?
Vidcund: Maybe they’re right. She could’ve adopted him. Their skintones are really far apart.
Pascal: Assuming that Nervous is indeed Specter’s son, adopted or biological, and if the zombies really originated from Specter’s house, there is now a clear motive for the zombie attack. A rescue mission for her son.
Vidcund: Which means, if we want to end this fast, our priority is to save Nervous.
Lazlo: And bring him to Specter’s house?
Pascal: We’ll decide that later, if we succeed in this.
Vidcund: It may be difficult to penetrate Beaker’s house, but we must try.
PT9: I agree, Vidcund. It’s our only chance of stopping this conflict.
Lazlo: We may want to try when the zombies are not there yet?
Pascal: Good point!
51 Road to Nowhere, Grunt Boot Camp: Team Grunt
General Grunt: Attention, squad. We know about the recent zombie sighting, and we are going to meet them head-on, to take them out!
Tank: Yeah! Ra-ra!! (Ripp rolls his eyes)
Kristen Loste: The zombies were seen coming down from Beaker Hill, marching across the main street, and going to Specter’s house.
General: We expect the zombies to strike again, but we don’t know if it’ll be a different place.
Lyla: Where did these zombies come from? Did they start in Beaker’s house, or Specter’s house, or somewhere else?
Tank: Mom, we only saw them leaving from the Beaker house.
Lyla: OK, so there’s a possibility that these zombies are from the Beakers.
Ripp: The last I heard from Ophelia, she and her aunt are safe.
Kristen: That’s weird. If the zombies went to the Specter house, how can they both be unhurt?
Lyla: I don’t know. But sending those zombies is a cruel act, that’s for sure. The Beakers can’t just do that to their fellow neighbors, right?
General Grunt: That’s true, we have to go up to Beaker Castle and have a look.
Ajay: Can’t we just call the police?
Lyla: Who needs the cops when we have a competent General here who can lead any army of any caliber?
General: Thank you, Lyla.
Kristen: General, remember the time when we went on that stealth mission? We can do it again, but this time, in Beaker Castle.
Tank: Any zombie that gets in our way will be slaughtered!
Buck: Dad, can I come? I want to fight them off too!
General Grunt: Of course, my boy. These will be your first steps into making it as a soldier in the army.
Lyla: C’mon Buzz, are you serious? We can’t just let our youngest boy go into an area full of zombies! We have to avoid getting him involved.
Lyla: Buck, listen to Mommy. It’s too dangerous for children.
Ripp: To be honest, I don’t want to fight either. Even if we’re just going on some wacky stealth mission through their backyard.
Tank: Show some respect, loser. You’re going with us!
General: Enough! Does everyone agree with going into Beaker Castle, or does anyone suggest another approach?
Ajay: (thinking) Oh fringe.
Tank: (staring at Ajay’s facial expression) Are you not pleased with this decision, Mr Loner?
Kristen: I’m sure he is. Right, Ajay? (Ajay nods)
Kristen: OK, so we’ll deploy one at the front door – Lyla, and one at the back door – Ripp. Look for anything suspicious, and stay on guard. Everyone else – General, Tank, Ajay and me – will fight inside.
General Grunt: I was going to say that, Lieutenant Loste! Those Beakers have some really dangerous inventions. I suggest we rush in on both sides, destroy their inventions, kill the zombies, and get those Beaker freaks into some rehabilitation camp for crazy scientists.
Team Grunt must be on standby now, ready to strike immediately, and take them by surprise, the moment the zombies appear again! Am I clear?
Everyone except Ripp: YES GENERAL.
13 Dead End Lane, Specter Yard
Meanwhile, back in Specter Yard, Ophelia Nigmos was having the inevitable confrontation with Olive Specter.
“Aunt Olive, what exactly are your guests here for? Last night, they were so rowdy on the streets. Everyone heard them!”
“I know what you mean. They’re Aunt Isabella’s fourth cousins. She didn’t have enough space, so they’re temporarily staying here before checking into a motel in Oasis Valley. They must have been pretty drunk.”
“Hmm… I tried talking to Danielle yesterday. I asked her where she was from. She just stared at me blankly, as if she didn’t understand me.”
“Danielle is suffering from catatonia, so sometimes she might just blatantly ignore you. She doesn’t mean it, though. I think she’s from… Desiderata Cove.”
“Desiderata… Cove. Hmm. But all of them seem to have that same blank look in their eyes. Who is Aunt Isabella anyway? Why are so many of her fourth cousins suffering from the same thing, even when they all look so different?”
It was better for Olive Specter to feign a fainting spell, than risk being cornered further by her niece. Unfortunately, she was never good at pretending to faint.
“Aunt Olive? Are you all right? You’ve been living alone here all these years, with only me for company, and rarely any visitors. Now suddenly there are so many visitors from Watcher-Knows-Where… Aunt Olive, please tell me the truth.”
Ophelia bit back her urge to blurt out her observation that the number of tombstones were obviously decreasing in Specter Yard. She feared the unknown consequences for pointing that out.
“Ophelia, maybe you should stop worrying so much! I’m going to lie down. I’m not feeling well.”
“All right, Aunt Olive. Rest well. I’ll get back to my homework. See you later.”
If Ophelia was not going to get any answers from Specter, her homework for the day was to find out as much as she could about the zombie sighting. She could start by asking Johnny and Ripp. It was great that both boys attended different briefings that morning.
Just as she was about to message the boys to meet her at the community lot, Ophelia heard chanting in Specter’s bedroom.
“Knew it. Aunt Olive was never one for fainting,” mused Ophelia, as she edged stealthily towards the door to eavesdrop.
“Good thing I ‘turned off’ most of you zombies, before Ophelia found you last time.”
“Zombies??” Ophelia gulped quietly, but her mind was racing.
“Welcome to Team Specter, you in the red dress, and you whom I once loved,” chanted Specter to her newest recruits. “I should upgrade more of you, so you can respond to Ophelia when she tries talking to you again. But that spell is so time-consuming, and my bladder is taking more of my time nowadays…”
Ophelia heard the bathroom door creak open, and slam shut. She gave in to her impulsive urge to open her aunt’s bedroom door.
All the guests were standing there, together with three new faces. They were all motionless, except one. She walked up to him, and waved.
“Oh Watcher! You caught me off guard. How do you do?” responded Hugh Thanasia, the only moving zombie.
“How is it that you’re talking, but not the rest?”
“I don’t know. I have orders not to say anything.”
“Where are you from, sir?”
“I can’t remember. But I remember Olive. She was once my wife.”
“You were married to Aunt Olive?”
“Yes, but she literally snuffed the life out of me. She…”
Hugh stopped. Ophelia silently hoped for him to continue.
“It’s hard being married to Olive!” blurted Hugh. “At least I can say I survived… oh.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t have much free will left. I have orders not to…” Hugh’s sentence was cut abruptly, and his expression turned blank.
Ophelia rushed out of the room, closing the door as quietly as she could. Her suspicions about the connection between the disappearing tombstones and the increasing number of “guests” were confirmed.
She also decided to keep this disturbing conversation to herself, as she ran off the lot to meet her friends.
Make your GUESS for the Battle of StrangeTown winner.
For the POLL on Ajay Loner, vote according to what happened in your game, or what you like to happen in your own story.
Which team’s strategy works out better in practice?