|Humans leave the bottom of the Frank Ritter Ice Arena towards the second extraction point on the baseball fields on Friday, September 24.
I woke up with fear in my heart. Will I make it past today? Will my friends?
My roommate has already left for class and I won’t see him again until later tonight. We can only hope for each other’s safety and that we both remain human. I carry my trusty maverick, a few socks and a last-resort weapon: a tiny single-shot Nerf pistol.
As I was leaving my dorm for class, there were no zombies in sight. There was a pack of humans heading to class, so I joined them. It’s best not to travel alone.
Eventually, we saw a lone zombie, but we were able to keep him at bay. There was no need to waste ammo. Another group arrived and they showed us a path through the ice arena. We took this path underground all the way to George Eastman Hall and exited on the east side heading to Frank E. Gannett Hall. The walk between the buildings was only about 50 feet, enough for us to sprint, followed by another 50-foot sprint to James E. Gleason Hall.
I was safe, and that’s what mattered to me.
After class, I had to make the difficult trek all the way back to my dorm. I met up with a group of 30 people who all had to return to the dorms. On the way, we saw one zombie. We could have easily taken him out if we wanted to, but we felt it would just be a waste of ammo. Instead, we continued on.
We noticed him calling for reinforcements, so we bolted to The Commons before the other zombies found us. From there, we were all able to traverse the tunnels back to our dorms.
Our mission for the night was to escort four citizens, three surveyors and one scavenger around campus. The surveyors were tasked with mapping out certain buildings while the scavenger searched for various supplies. Groups of different sizes were formed to complete a number of objectives, some to protect the citizens, others for special missions. I assigned to the defensive operation. Our base was at Gracie’s and I was guarding the eastern door. Throughout the night, we received reports of comrades being zombified.
Then the big news hit.
|Wes Chapman, a first year computer hardware engineering major, heads up the stairs to scout nearby hordes of zombies in the area. This six-person group traveled through the tunnels and exited this door near The Commons.
Word came that one of the larger groups protecting a surveyor was completely decimated. Very few made it. It became known as the “Infinity Quad Massacre.” I feel terrible for all those people, but I am thankful that I could live another day.
With the human population decreasing, I was terrified to go outside. I couldn’t trust anyone. When I went to go to my first class, I couldn’t see any humans. Thankfully, there weren’t any zombies in sight, either.
In order to avoid zombies, I took a huge detour to get to my next class. On the way, I ran into David Kahrs, another survivor who happened to be in the class I was heading to. He told me about his adventures during Monday’s mission.
“I was walking home from rehearsal when I saw about four zombies,” said Kahrs, “so I ran into the tunnels where I saw a group of 30 other humans. I told them I was just trying to get home and they said, ‘So are we.’”
On the way home, I traveled the same route as yesterday. It seems that the zombies aren’t aware of this route yet. Hiding my gun in my vest definitely helped me keep from enemy’s notice. When I returned home, I discovered that my roommate was now a zombie. Now, I have to live with the enemy.
Tonight, our mission was to gather supplies stationed around campus. In order to salvage the materials that we needed, we formed squads to head out into the different target areas. I was assigned to the defensive team yet again. It was a boring job, but a safe one.
When the mission began, a large horde of zombies waited outside. I had no idea what they were waiting for. Eventually, they left and headed toward the Gordon Field House, although a few of them merely stayed to taunt us.
We completed our mission without any massacres, but our numbers are still decreasing. More than half of the human population has become zombies.
The rain seemed to deter the zombies this morning. I met back up with Kahrs, who was still a human. We decided to stick together to get to our next class, using the underground tunnels as much as we could.
As we were heading back to our dorms after class, we saw a lone human taking out a few zombies. He didn’t seem to need our help, so we continued on. As the human walked away, a zombie sprinted at him from behind, but the human reacted quickly; he spun around and, with a shot to the gut, took the zombie out.
We found a group of about 15 humans at the Infinity Quad. They were all headed towards the dorms. We joined them as they made the trek home. A group of zombies had gathered nearby but, fortunately, we outnumbered them greatly. We took a few of them out as they tried to rush us and, upon seeing this, the remaining zombies gave up. We decided the best route back was to cross D-Lot and walk along Andrews Memorial Drive to Lyndon B. Johnson Hall.
Tonight’s mission was complicated because we had to demolish certain areas with “Nerfsplosives” and construct barricades in others. I went with a group of eight other humans into the woods behind Gracie’s. Two calm zombies appeared. We held our formation, stuck to the mission, and continued on.
Suddenly, a horde of about fifteen zombies started running towards us from behind the original two. We knew we stood no chance against them, so we split up. We ran back into the forest and headed towards Gracie’s, where we spent some time in safety.
As soon as we were about to head out again, we discovered that the mission was canceled due to complications with the website. At least I was safe — albeit tired from running — and about 40 percent of the players were still human.
At this point, hopelessness began to settle and I almost wanted to give up. I thought of just walking down the quarter mile and taking out as many zombies as possible. But my survival instincts kicked in, and I decided against it. Zombies had yet to confront me on my route to class.
After class, I met up with some humans in the Infinity Quad. There was a group of zombies protecting something near a tree. One of the other humans told me about the Twinkie side mission. For bragging rights, humans could try to run to the tree and grab a Twinkie, but that would put them face-to-face with the zombies guarding it.
I abandoned the Twinkie mission and proceeded to class. I was released early, which meant fewer zombies would be out and about on my way back. I was nervous that zombies might start jumping out of the trees because I know that, if I were a zombie, that would have been my strategy. Fortunately, no zombies appeared.
In the game, my brain has been my most effective weapon. Planning ways to avoid zombies entirely is the best way for survival.
This night’s mission involved bringing a beacon to a location on campus and holding it there for a whole minute. There were twelve possible locations, and we needed to complete eight. After much planning, my group decided to go for the one by the turf field. We reached the Frank Ritter Ice Arena without any trouble. We then took the tunnels to the Digital Den and we were going to head to the library when 20 zombies pushed us back inside. The standoff lasted an hour. We taunted the zombies to distract them as we sent three people on a different route to complete our objective.
Trying to go return the way we came was impossible. Another standoff occurred in front of the ice arena. Instead of trying to push on, a friend and I took the tunnels to the Student Alumni Union. Thinking it was clear, we exited through one of the south doors with the intention of going through the woods to Gracie’s. Our plan was foiled when a zombie spotted us, and screeching “HUMANS!!”
We ran back inside the SAU where we ran into other humans were hoping to go through the same exit. We informed them it was impossible. After wandering the SAU for a while, we passed through another south exit and ran onto the southern part of Andrews Memorial Drive. From there, we followed the road all the way around the woods. As soon as we spotted Nathaniel Rochester Hall, we sprinted inside.
The game has become routine. My route to class must be perfect as, yet again, no zombies were on it.
All day, I couldn’t think of anything but the extraction mission. Many students greeted me in the halls. “Good luck today,” they said. It was nice to have support. Up until this point, my survival relied on sheer luck, and luck alone would not get me through extraction.
It was finally time for the last mission: extraction. This was probably the simplest — yet most difficult — mission to complete. We had to go to the bus stop outside of the library and pick up several small black tubes, then bring them to one of the four safe zones. The zones were open at different times for 30 minutes each. My group began in Gracie’s and took the south part of Andrews Memorial Drive. As we neared the library, a group of zombies appeared from the woods. We took most of them out and the rest followed us at a safe distance.
|A small group of humans is attacked by a horde of zombies on Friday’s final extraction mission.
We needed to reach one of the safe zones. The first was already closed and the second had just opened up, but time left us aiming for the third at the field near M-Lot. We saw a group of what we thought were humans but, as it turned out, they were zombies. By the time we realized, it was too late; that was the end of us. I managed to take out three, but one snuck up behind me. My Nerf gun jammed and all hope was lost.
A mixed feeling of disappointment and relief fell over me. I was liberated from the worryof being chased and hunted. The paranoia that came with the increasing zombie numbers subsided and was replaced by hunger. I was ready to hunt for some brains.
With our numbers, it was easy to defend the safe zone. Even so, one human, Brendan Turner, sprinted past everyone and was extracted.
“I was just a zombie with everyone else when my antivirus kicked in, so I sprinted into the safe zone,” said Turner. Turner was the only one to be extracted from this location.
The last safe zone was located behind Gracie’s. The back of the safe zone was facing the woods so zombies were constantly watching it for humans. As the clock wound down, a few humans attempted to break through but ultimately failed. The clock struck 9 p.m., and it was all over. The zombies successfully defended the safe zones. In the end, only 16 humans were extracted.
As HvZ came to an end, the mindset of “don’t travel alone or the quarter mile is death” slowly faded. The bond that was formed between players during HvZ will be all that remains. There were countless instances when I passed other humans who I didn’t know in the hallway and we saluted each other, then swapped info about certain areas of campus. My only regret is that I didn’t become a zombie earlier in the game; I, too, wanted to hunt down some humans during class.