The Average Apocalypse, Part 3: The Human Element

28 Mar

This is part 3 of an ongoing series in which I roleplay in DayZ as myself – which is to say, as a scared man with negligible survival skills. You can also read part 1 and part 2.

Okay, let’s try this again.

Besides a newfound determination to avoid running on stairs, my objectives remain the same as in my previous life: build a bow, get away from the cities, live off the land. It looks like I could be done with the first part relatively quickly, as I’ve spawned in on the outskirts of Elektrozavodsk – only the second largest city in Chernarus.

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Starting as I mean to go on, I peg it. A lone zombie is immediately on my trail, and with nothing for self-defence except my bare fists, trying to fight would be a death sentence. Instead I dash up a ladder onto a factory roof, leaving the undead idiot growling impotently at a wall as I descend another ladder on the opposite side of the building. If you can’t fight them, outsmart them, as my Dad always said before he was killed by a collision detection bug.

DayZ 2015-03-14 14-09-12-66

I search the nearby industrial buildings for provisions – there’s no food, but I do grab a machete and ice axe. I figure some sharp edges would be useful for crafting arrows, even if neither tools are particularly efficient for zed-killing.

And that’s a shame, because two of them surprise me on my way into the city proper, and the second chase in five minutes begins. A large office block provides temporary respite, even buying me the time to upgrade my trousers to a pair with extra pockets, but soon they find a way in and pursue me back onto the streets. I pass a tavern – doors shut and ripe for looting – but my assailants are scarily good at keeping pace, and I’m forced to abandon the spoils for now.

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That said, I can’t very well sprint into Elektro with a loud, angry conga line in tow. Not with potential human murderers likely to be lurking about. I duck into an alleyway, which can at least act as a bottleneck, and pull out the biggest of my two blades: the machete.

Hack, hack, hack hack hack. I scramble around the first zed, who slows to an awkward shuffle, and swing away for what feels like an eternity until he flops into the dirt. I quickly learn my lesson and go for the second one’s head; he’s not as sluggish as his friend, and scores a glancing blow on my arm before I take him down, steel meeting brain with a heavy thunk.

DayZ 2015-03-14 14-17-02-46

Luckily, I’m not bleeding, and extra-luckily, my first successful fight happened to occur in front of a shed that contained, among other things, precious rope. Bow drawstring acquired (along with a sharp plaid shirt and hard hat), I decide to return to the tavern and pick it clean of any food and drink.

There’s just one problem. Both the front and side doors are now open, and while I can’t make out movement through the windows, it’s a pretty safe bet that someone is in there right now. Obviously, I adopt the coward’s strategy of communicating with fellow survivors, and run the other way. This takes me right into the city, where at least I can hope that there’s nobody around.

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Nope. As I approach the fire station in search of a full-size axe, the unmistakable silhouette of a still-living man appears on the roof. I make a run for the nearest cover – a bush – and go prone, praying that he hasn’t spotted anything beyond the chain link perimeter.

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He nears the roof’s edge and looks straight in my direction, but this is a thick bush, and he hasn’t yet readied a weapon (I can make out something long and thin on his back, but can’t tell if it’s a rifle or a broom). After standing watch for a few more seconds, he climbs a couple of ladder to ground level and takes off in the direction I came.

DayZ 2015-03-14 14-22-29-12

Am I clear? I think I’m clear.

Unfortunately, since the Roof Man didn’t seem to be carrying a fire axe, I surmise that this particular fire station has already been cleared. There’s another on the other side of town, but I’m not keen on bumping into Roof Man again, so I take the quickest route possible: sprinting across an open field.

Big mistake. The long sight lines allow a female zed, even with her decrepit eyes, to spot me, and within seconds she’s hot on my heels. Then, a puff of dirt flies up behind me, accompanied by a loud crack. I’m being shot at.

Time to leave Elektro, I think.

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