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Author Topic: Dead Scare: Woman's Work (F/Any, semi-humorous 50s Zombie outbreak)  (Read 176 times)

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  • "Logic is for Squares."
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We lost more than our innocence in the war.

Ushering in the atomic age was the obvious damage, what we knew would haunt us. We looked deep into ourselves and realized that we were party to something so horrifying it had no name, no place in the manicured yards and careful living rooms we went home to. So, we didn't talk about it.

There were three paths we walked after the boys all came home, and what surprised us most was how poorly these new lives fit our expanded, reshaped selves. Some of us went right back to where we'd been. Teachers, nurses, wives. Tending to hard, damaged boys who had been turned into men while we were in the sky and they were fighting the Axis on the ground.

Some of us tucked our uniforms away in mothballs; somewhere between the altar and our new husband's next posting, we picked up the threads of an Officer's wife. We went from serving our country to serving cocktails with a sunny smile. From wearing stripes to supporting our husbands in earning his next star.

The rest of us struck out, leaving the mold behind. If we had ever sat down with the women in our unit, would we have recognized how uncomfortable and ill-suited we were to domestication on our mothers' terms before the Z-bombs hit? Most of us tried not to look too closely, I suppose. If you want to bring a nation to its knees, you strike commerce, trade, and the military. And they did that with the Z-bombs.

Nobody thought about the fact that an entire secondary force was sitting at home, mending socks. Even we didn't realize we were the only safety net between defending our shores and falling to any outside force ready to pick us off after Wall Street and D.C. fell.

Our old phone trees worked; enough of us stayed in touch that where a branch was missing, we filled in the blanks. It's not that we ever expected to activate ourselves, but when the call came, it's like we'd been waiting for this. We never expected to pull those uniforms out of the back of the closet, but when we did, we moved like a well-oiled machine. Provisions continued to move to the places we needed them. Survivors were airlifted out of areas where their safety couldn't be assured. We were military trained and up for the task.

Enough brass survived to make it hard on those of us with enough experience and common sense to cut through the nostalgia and the shock.   

As a combat medic, I can tell you gentle hands make for stinking wounds. Respond swiftly, carry the biggest weapon you can put your hands on and never break rank. The rotting bastards will take you down every time, and we can't let the boys interfere with protecting what's left.

-U.S. Army Base [Location Classified]

It all started on an unusually hot April night in 1953. The signs had been there for some time now. Animals had been acting odd, children would say they saw monsters in the woods, family pets would begin growling and hissing at unseen figures lurking just out of our vision, hiding in the darkness. Then there were reports of grifters and strange homeless men shambling through the streets at night, trampling old lady Graham's rose bushes, stepping on a toy left out on the sidewalk. Then they were beating at the doors and trying to climb in through the windows. Parents told their children all the time that there were no such things as monsters. They were wrong.

Monsters were very real, they smelled like wet garbage (mixed with curdled milk and a piece of baloney left on the floor for too long). They roared and groaned as they reached out with rotting fingers. They would never stop trying to find living prey, even as they would stumble into walls, tripped over their own feet, and would uselessly bite at store mannequins as if they were alive. These monsters could only be brought down by burning them, crushing them, blowing them up, or (Most effectively) removing the head or destroying the brain.

They were zombies and the disgusting harassers had no respect for anyone's personal space! The dead rising were rising from out of their graves to lay waste to the living world and end all that man had wrought. It might take them a week to just cross the streets sometimes, but they were persistent, and had no care for simple human concepts such as Stop Signs or even crossing guards! God help you if you were just a milkman or a mailman trying to do your job and the undead got in your way.

Taken one on one, the slow, rotting, shambler was nothing. There were even reports of Chihuahuas managing to defeat single shamblers. But when they came together in massed hordes, nothing short of a machine gun team backed up by a tank could stop them.

The real threat was in the major cities, as the undead spread unchecked and undaunted by local police forces. Eventually the threat became so great that President Eisenhower had to address the nation. But during the middle of his televised speech, the president seemed to suddenly grow sick, and have a stroke before the eyes of everyone. As his own secret service moved to help him, he rose up, eyes already turning yellow and rotted, he lunged at them like an animal. The broadcast was cut off, but everyone knew what it meant and panicked masses fled to places of worship, or to the supermarkets to buy what they needed to hunker down.

That was then the airwaves started to go down, and the power would fluctuate. The virus spread quickly, with the only thing spreading faster than it being rumors. Some said the virus was sent by God, or by the Russians, or that it was caused by atomic fallout from the US and USSR firing nukes at each other. Everyone knew something and had opinions, but no one had any real hard facts. Some even went so far as to say that it was because of Little Green Men, or the Mothman.

It wasn't until a month later that some sense of order finally started to come back, when military trucks rolled through town after town. Some were national guard trucks, some were regular army or marines, and a few were even just ad hoc militias rallying together to fight the undead menace.

'Better Dead than Zed!' some of them would say as they cleared out larger hordes and helped to secure once vulnerable areas, with the corps of engineers getting the power and water running again. With the return of services came the news of what had happened. The virus had indeed come from the Russians, but it had been far more powerful than what the Soviets thought it would be, and now the entire world was suffering from swarms of the dead. A draft had been reinstated and any man 20 and up was expected to report to a military base for training. Entire towns were left primarily run by women, the elderly, the sick, and children, or the rare man who was physically unfit for serving on the frontlines. Curfews were in effect, and a few women even began to take up their husbands rifles and revolvers, to form patrols to protect their neighborhoods. But the worst was yet to come. As executive orders declared that all major Baseball games were cancelled!

...Oh yeah and Douglas MacArthur was technically running the entire country now under Martial Law. But truly the greatest tragedy was the loss of baseball. How would people survive without the countries' greatest pastime?

Many thought that Joseph McCarthy would take power and secure himself the presidency, (given he was one of the few survivors who made it out of Washington DC when the undead rose up) but it was heavily challenged by several generals and a few members of the Supreme Court, that labeled McCarthy's efforts illegal and unconstitutional as he tried overruling another survivor who was above him in the chain or succession. Though their own efforts were more focused on instituting Martial Law and putting the military in charge for the duration of the disaster. At the very head of this movement was none other than Douglas MacArthur. Despite his issues with Eisenhower during the Korean War, many felt he had some of the best experience and skill in managing war and might just be the man who could retake the continental US and maybe even push the dead back to Hell. And people certainly seemed to flock to a war hero like him far more than they did for Stolen Valor 'Tail Gunner Joe' McCarthy.

The cleanup is slowed down due to MacArthur having to contain unrest and secure his new powerbase, especially as Joseph McCarthy tried to start an insurrection and the state of Alabama rose up with him, requiring Federal troops to go in and put it back in its place. Apparently McCarthy thought more states would side with him, but only one did, and now he is doomed to go down with his own ship as Douglas plans to make an example of those that would break away from the Union.

Federal forces are stretched thin trying to cover areas of important food growth, manufacturing, and supply lines, forcing McArthur to rethink his strategies and use his newfound power to federalize certain services and give power to those that once did not have it. Military units are now integrated en masse, with the propaganda machine working overtime to get everyone working and not lose hope.

Some call McArthur the American Caesar, but in his own interviews, he called himself the American Cincinnatus, as he intends to hand over all power the moment that the US is stabilized. (Some rumors even saying that he is sick of being in charge and longs to retire).

Many parts of the country have been cleared out of larger undead hordes, but small packs (and even more spread out hordes) still exist. There are even cases of some dying through natural causes coming back to life even if they weren't bitten by a zombie before. It is clear that this crisis will not be over any time soon (there goes the 4th of July celebration plans. Hopefully the soldiers and scientists should have this all fixed by Christmas, right?...right?).

Federal forces have had to reroute and double back repeatedly to deal with outbreaks in previously cleared areas, and McArthur has decided to make use of a previously untapped force in the form of reactivating the WAAC and WASP programs to the same level of activity they experienced during the second world war, as well as adding on to some of their duties. Many question his logic in deciding to give rifle, driving, and command training to women (Even giving them ranks the same as men!) but with him in control of most of the US, who is going to stop him? In this time of chaos and undead hooligans running amok, they need the extra manpower, or in this case Woman's power.

In one of the lesser infected areas a member of the WAAC has been given the rank of Captain and placed in charge of a small town called Pine Valley in Washington State. The Pacific Northwest is not nearly as overrun with the dead as other parts of the nation, due to the weather being just as rough on the undead as it is for the living. It should be a cushy job for her, all she has to do is assure the public that the federal government is still in charge, still getting things under control, and maybe deal with an occasional Shambler. It was considered so cleared out that she even had the authority to head to the nearby town of Aberford and help out there if she saw the opportunity or the need for it.

As far as her superiors were concerned, this should be a simple job maintaining order and she wouldn't have to even break a nail. Since arriving in town that has proven to be a complete and total lie, telling Captain Maggie Asher Decker just how much it wasn't an exaggeration when frontline troops joked about Military Intelligence.
It was a good thing that she'd been assigned a Willy's Jeep loaded out with a .50 machine gun in the back, because as she and two militia men assigned to her had been coming into town, they had spotted a horde of he undead, almost three dozen strong, making a massed shamble towards the football field.

They leapt into action and with a combination of the jeep's speed, the machine gun, and some rifle fire, their first day on the job started off with 30+ confirmed Dead Zeds. That had to make them Zombie killers of the week. (Sadly that title was held by old miss Aberdeen in Massachusetts, for unleashing a swarm of pigeons upon a group of the undead).

The sound of the shots had drawn the attention of the townsfolk, and even as the Jeeps was doing figure 8s into the horde and blasting the ghouls to bits, they were all pondering over who the newcomers were. They knew someone from the government was showing up and would be helping keep things nice and organized. Due to the lack of men in the town, many speculated as to who their manly rescuers would be.

Maybe some Rebel with a cause (and a motorcycle), in a dashing uniform, or some valiant war hero, or some lonely mountain man with a gentle soul in need of a woman's touch.

Instead they end up with a small, scrawny, nervous man who flunked out of the police academy, a darn reefer smoker who seemed to fluctuate between a state of excited mania and eternally half awake, and yet another woman in town.

Captain Maggie Decker is excited to be doing her part in the ongoing Zombie Eradication and Control Initiative. Everyone has to do their part to earn victory and put the dead back underground. She's willing to give it her all and make both Pine Valley and Aberford the safest places in America. If only they would let her.

Between arguing with her superiors over the need for supplies and maybe some engineers to build guard towers, and some of the ladies of the town seeking to play politics with her, Maggie's work is going to be a constant uphill battle. They have taken over the old post office and turned it into a hub for their efforts and tried to make nice with the people of the town, but she knows that while some are happy to have her help, others are whispering that she only got the job because of family connections. No one talks about it openly, but Martha from over on Main Street said that Captain Decker didn't get her rank because of her work ethic or competence, but just because her daddy is drinking buddies with MacArthur. And that she was only ever in the WAAC because no man wanted her and it was the only way her family could justify her becoming a spinster and give her something to do besides laying about all day.  Others say she had a man but chased him away because she wanted to focus on her career, few even whisper she is one of those *gasp* Sapphic women! (Though if she was, she wouldn't be the only woman in town who has those inclinations).

The rumor mill is constantly turning and it seems until the Engineers arrive in a month that rumors are the only way anyone can keep boredom at bay. Which sucks because Captain Decker was hoping to catch up on her stories (she's missed so many episodes of The Shadow! She wants to hear Orson Welles voice her favorite hero gosh darn it!). But it nowhere near as aggravating as dealing with some of the women in town who were used to being in charge and don't take too kindly to being ordered about by a younger woman just because she has a uniform with shiny pins on it.

Maggie nearly tore her hair out when arguing with Miss Bitterson, the wife of the town's late Preacher who insisted on a proper burial for the dead, instead of the quarantine procedures (and burnings) ordered by the CDC. Or trying to convince old lady Henderson that no they can't just put up fences to keep the zombies out, an armed patrol is needed, even if she doesn't like the idea of women carrying guns or knives or clubs.

Or worst of all....trying to set up security checkpoints while Miss Martha from the HOA keeps trying to play the queen bee card and questioning the authority of the Captain Decker and anyone who follows her, because none of them showed up at the bake sale last month, and little miss soldier girl never keeps her hedge rows in line with the standards set by the home Owner's Association.

It is very frustrating. But as time goes on more women in town seem to come around to Decker's side, and more women find the courage needed to take up arms and defend their town from the undead menace.

My muse wouldn't quiet down until i wrote this and so i decided to have a bit of fun with it. This idea is based off the tabletop rpg Dead Scare, which is set in a 1950s zombie uprising. The men are all dead or off fighting the war, so its up to the women to defend the homefront and make sure nothing happens to their loved ones until everything is back in order.

I changed some of the lore that i felt made the setting abit too grimdark and leaned more  heavily into the comedy aspect. People will be Killing Zombies with Crockett Mallets and trying to get the town talent show organized, or you might be walking by to get the mail and see some little girl using her daddy's shotgun to blast a Zed because that mean old Mr Dead Zed stepped on her dolly, an daddy says the only good zombie is a dead zombie.

I have no real idea where I want to go with this but its meant to be fun and abit wacky, so hopefully you had some fun reading it even if you aren't interested in playing this out :)