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Nathan Durand

"Cross me, and I'll make sure zombies aren't the only thing you fear out here."

0 · 561 views · located in Post-Apocalyptic America

a character in “Bullets, Blades, and Brains”, originally authored by Scarlet Loup, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

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"Cross me, and I'll make sure zombies aren't the only thing you fear out here."




The Basics




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Full Name
Nathaniel David Durand

Nicknames
He usually doesn't even tell anyone his full name, Nathaniel. Instead, he
introduces himself as Nathan and commonly goes by Nate.

Gender
Male

Age
Thirty-eight

Ethnicity/Race
English and German; Caucasian

Sexual Orientation
Bisexual

Prior Occupation
First Sergeant in the US Army

Current Occupation
Unofficial second in command and a hunter




What's on the Outside




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Hair Color: Chestnut that appears almost reddish in direct sunlight

Eye Color: Light green

Height: Six feet, two inches

Weight: Two hundred pounds

Tattoos: On his right pectoral, Nathan has "This We'll Defend" tattooed. It's the US Army motto and he received this tattoo after his honorable discharge. He also has matching tribal bands tattooed on his biceps.

Piercings: In his youth, Nathan had both ears pierced because that was the cool thing to do. Nowadays, these piercings have closed up and he only has minor scars from them.

Scars: Nate still has a small bullet hole-shaped scar in his left forearm where he was once hit with a bit of shrapnel. He's also got a few nicks on his hands from his knife slipping in his grip. His most noticeable scar is a long mark on his left calf from his Achilles tendon surgery.

Character Color: #990000

Description: Standing over six feet and weighing 200 pounds, Nathan Durand truly isn't a force to be reckoned with. Well, not unless you have a death wish. He has few tattoos and scars, but both are still quite noticeable to the naked eye. He's quite proud of them, too, and cares not if someone points them out. In fact, he even boasts about his scars at times except for the scar he received from his Achilles tendon surgery. His chestnut-colored hair is usually kept quite short and messy in style. Nate often has a short stubble of beard on his chin and cheeks. He's a well-built man and has remained in prime condition even as he nears forty years of age.





What's on the Inside




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Personality:
{Hot-headed, Outspoken, Protective, Charming, Deceitful}
Heartbreak and pain have taken Nate and turned him into a shell of what he previously was. Before his medical discharge, he was a lively individual who had no regrets besides tearing his Achilles tendon earlier in high school. He was grateful for the good fortune he had, and really seemed grateful for his life. Seeing him now, one would be shocked to know this about him. Nathan's broken, torn apart by what he perceives as failure in the Army, his inability to keep his wife, and the loss of his daughter. He shows symptoms of bipolar disorder regularly now, though they've been present since he returned home with his injury. Nate can come off as charming and compassionate one moment, and then hot-headed and rude the next. He can basically be described as a modern day Ares, the Greek god of war. Nate does know how to lead, but he does not do it well. His tactical skills are average, but he flies into the fray fearlessly and violently. However, he's a sore loser and grows angry when he loses an argument or fight.

He's always been a violent individual. When confronted with problems, he tends to use his strength to his advantage, because he feels it is one of the only things he has on his side. Luck has certainly never favored him. He also tends to speak his mind quite loudly in most, if not all, situations. When wrong, he grows quiet and resentful. Violence does not faze him as much as it once might have. He's been hunting for years and was in the Army for over thirteen years. Because he's lost everyone he's cared about, Nate is extremely overprotective of the remaining people in his life that he still cares about. But, deep down, he is excited for this "adventure". For over six years, he's played the stay at home dad, and it's driven him stir-crazy. He misses his family, of course, but this is finally his moment to make something of himself again. One can never truly be certain of Nate's current emotion and, therefore, he is no better than a ticking time-bomb.
Hobbies:
  • Used to hunt for sport
  • Football or soccer in high school and with family
  • Surfing and kayaking in his childhood
  • Occasionally, playing video games

Habits:
  • Needs something to chew on from gum to a cigarette to a tooth pick
  • Wears his socks tightly and hates when they bunch up around his toe or fall below his heel
  • Hurries to the front of a group and demands to be the "leader"
  • Drives with one hand on the wheel

Oddities:
  • He still walks with a subtle limp from his surgery, and fears tearing his Achilles tendon again
  • Nathan is slightly allergic to cats and has "seasonal allergies"
  • Previously struggled with alcohol and could potentially relapse

Likes/Loves:
  • Running, especially sprinting
  • Cheesecake with strawberries
  • Having the upper hand in a debate
  • Classic rock
  • Coffee with cream and sugar
  • Beer
  • Sex
  • Humid, hot weather
Dislikes/Hates:
  • Hard liquor
  • Loud, sudden noises
  • Staying still or silent
  • Cats
  • Golf and bowling
  • Cooking/baking
  • Resistance
  • Socks





What Makes Us Special




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Strengths and Weaknesses

Character Skills/Talents:
  • Nathan is a skilled gunman and has excellent aim.
  • Despite his usual hot-headed and crude behavior, Nate tends to come off as quite charming at first. It is only later that he grows arrogant.
  • He's had time over the past few months to hone his tracking skills, which he retained from his childhood.
  • He's surprisingly quite smart, at times, and is an average tactician.
Character Flaws/Weaknesses:
  • Subconsciously bonds with others to the point where he's clingy.
  • Runs the risk of tearing his Achilles tendon again.
  • Nate tends to believe that his ideas are better and that his Army rank gives him seniority.
  • He's so overprotective, he'd kill to defend his loved ones no matter the cost.
Secrets:
He struggled with alcohol after being discharged from the Army // Angry with a subordinate, Nate attacked him and later blamed the other soldier by saying that the lower ranked man attacked Nathan first // His marriage was falling apart before the apocalypse began and his wife had filed for divorce

Fears/Phobias:
Fears tearing his Achilles tendon again // Fears losing loved ones // Fears death, or at least an unceremonious death




What's Done Is Done




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Biography

Place Of Origin: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA

Birth Date: January 13, 1976

History:
Life began for Nathan in mid-January in the Outer Banks. He was the son of a mechanic father and a lawyer mother who met via a case his mother was on. The two married quite soon after they began to go out and Nate was born only months later. More or less, he grew up in the water. From a young age, the ocean was his best friend, and he showed no fear when a large wave would knock him over. Surfing and kayaking, therefore, came easily to him, and he would continue these hobbies into adulthood. His sister, Lily, was born seven years after him. Like a typical brother, Nate tried everything in his power to rid the household of the little girl. But, by the time he was ten, this hatred finally turned into love. In fact, he grew so attached to Lily, he refused to let her out of his sight until he was forced to once she started preschool. His youth was full of outdoor activity, despite seasonal allergies. He would spend the summer hunting and swimming, and then spend the winter sledding and skating.

Sports came easily to Nate, too, and he made the high school soccer team with ease. Though he initially lacked the muscle mass for the football team, Nathan also joined it and rose in the ranks of his high school class. It seemed he would go to college on a sport's scholarship and go into a respectable, white-collar profession. Things were ideal and it seemed as though he were floating on Cloud 9. In the spring of his junior year, Nate first strained his Achilles tendon while sprinting during exercises. He was out for the soccer season and, in the fall of his senior year, failed to make the football team, too. Dismal and wondering how he'd get his scholarship now, Nathan was intrigued by a commercial for the U.S. Army. He made the soccer team in his senior year, but he still joined the Army against his parents' and his sister's wishes.

The first year was miserable. He missed his family, the beach, his old friends. Yet, he took quite quickly to Army life. In fact, by the time he'd come home on leave, he'd long to return to his second home. However, there was one thing that kept him coming back over and over again to North Carolina: his girlfriend, Wendy. They'd met when he was a senior and she was a freshman. Despite his time overseas, the two wrote each other and video chatted almost constantly. He proposed a year after she'd graduated high school, and they were married in the summer of 1999 and their daughter, Penny, was born soon after. Jayson, their son, would be born a few years before Nathan's discharge.

Over the years, he would increase in rank until he was, after thirteen years, a sergeant first class. He was at the height of his career, in fact, when everything came crashing down. Jogging around base, he decided it would be fun to challenge a fellow soldier. The two slowly increased their pace until, without warning, Nate bolted forward and tore his Achilles tendon. Unable to move without pain, he was sent into surgery and emerged with a limp he's retained until this day. Unable to run without physical therapy, Nathan was given medical discharge and sent home to the New York apartment his wife had purchased.

He was a broken man after his medical discharge. Thirteen years of his life were gone, wasted. He tried to pursue a college degree, but he quickly realized it was not for him and returned home as, to his dismay, a stay at home father. Wendy, meanwhile, provided for them through a hair salon. Initially, he yelled quite often and took his frustration out on Wendy, who began to stray further and further from him until, one night, two years after his injury, a drunk Nate finally made up to her. This truce did not last long, but Lucille was born nine months later. For a while after Lucille was born, Nate regained is composure. In 2010, at 35, he relapsed and took up drinking, as if that would solve his problems. Obviously, it didn't. Years passed and, while he was quite a loving father, Nathan's marriage crumbled to bits until, by the summer of 2013, Wendy filed for divorce. Unable to hold a steady job since his discharge, however, Nate remained in their New York apartment until the outbreak.

When it occurred, Nate was at home with Lucille. The children had gone to school, and his parents were visiting from Kitty Hawk. His parents had gone out for a walk, and returned with the startling news that a man had run up and bit Henry. They thought nothing of it at first. Nathan went out for a jog, thinking everything would be fine. By the time he returned, his mother had also turned and the two made their way to Lucille's room. Nate, fearing only for his daughter's life, grabbed a table lamp and knocked his mother and father over the head with it until their zombified bodies fell still. He was too late, however, and his daughter died in his arms before he could call an ambulance. Either way, he was unable to reach any emergency services. His children and his wife never returned, as far as he knew, to the apartment. After a week, Nathan gathered up his guns, food, and clothes, and piled them into his Jeep Wrangler. Afraid of being alone, he also brought Oakley, his Rhodesian Ridgeback. He drove only a few blocks before running into a small group of cars formed in a blockade. It was here that he met Robyn Dempsey, the unofficial leader of the current group. Very quickly, he gained the favor of Robyn and the two bonded through their loss of family and friends. Over time, as the group moved into rural New York, he was promoted to her "second in command" for his hunting and shooting skills.

Family Tree
Father: Henry Durand, 67, deceased
Mother: Sandra Durand, 68, deceased
Sisters: Lily Durand, Thirty-one, unknown
Brothers: N/A
Wife: Wendy Durand, 34, deceased
Children: Penny Durand, 14, unknown; Jayson Durand, 10, deceased; Lucille Durand, 5, deceased

Happiest Memory: It is hard for him to decide, but he best memory is most likely when he was promoted to First Sergeant. He wasn't present for the birth of any of his children, so these memories really can't qualify as favorite memories.

Saddest Memory: The two memories that plague him the most are losing Lucille, his youngest child, to the zombies and having to be discharged from the Army after tearing his Achilles tendon. He watched first hand as his "parents", zombies by then, went after Lucille. Though he was able to fend them off eventually, they had already bitten her. He watched, heartbroken, as his youngest child turned into a zombie in his arms.

So begins...

Nathan Durand's Story

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The first thing he felt on the morning, November twenty-third, was the cold. The cold had seeped into the Jeep Wrangler the night before, filling the space inside with a chill Nate couldn't remember waking up to in ages. There was that one time, two years ago, that the heater broke in his apartment in January. The kids had bitched and moaned when he told them they had to get up out of bed and the warmth of their blankets in the frigid home.

"F-frick," he muttered, instinctively curling his knees to his chest as he blinked awake. He'd worn an old sweatshirt to bed that night that proclaimed "SOCCER" in bold, black print across against a heather gray field. Nathan pulled the hood over his head and curled up in a tighter ball across the front seat, head on the driver's side and feet on the passenger's. His legs had cramped over the course of the night and, as he moved, a shape in the back of the car moved, too. For only a few seconds, Nate kept his eyes shut and tried to sleep a little longer. Warm breath hit him in the face as Oakley jumped down from the back seat and moved toward him. Before the world had gone to shit, he'd hated when the dog came into his room and woke him up. He hardly stirred and merely grunted in the dog's face before she began to lick his face clean. Sputtering, Nate pushed her snout away and sat up quickly.

The light from the rising sun shone into the car, nearly blinding Nate, whose eyes were already sensitive. The group had parked on the side of a highway, forming a make-shift barricade with what cars they had so those without could sleep in the safety of tents within. Tapping on his windshield caused Nathan to jolt and reach for his dad's Colt Double Eagle, which he'd passed on to the former soldier. As he turned toward the window, he cocked it. A mixture of paranoia and stress brought on by combat had taught him to always be prepared.

The zombie pressed up against the windshield again and again, slamming her chest against his window. She must have been a beautiful woman when she was alive, judging by what was left of her face and her petite figure, Nathan mused. A smirk grew wide on his lips as he watched her struggle. Slowly, eyes still locked on her own eye (the other had been mauled by something), Nathan traded his pistol for a long hunting knife. By then, Oakley was barking and running along the back seat. Nate rolled the window down slowly, allowing the groans to enter his car as the zombie reached for him. Grimacing, he flew forward and jammed it into her head, through her skull, and pierced what was left of her brain. A choked moan escaped her rotting lips as she fell to the ground outside of his car.
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Another person might have been traumatized, shaken , or frightened. Nate merely chuckled and settled back into his car seat as he rolled the window up and stuck the pistol he'd been meaning to plan in the waist of his jeans. Oh, he hadn't had this much fun since he was overseas. "Fun" was a relative term, of course. Not many would find joy in driving a knife through the skull of an undead human.

"Come on, girl," he said, sliding over to the passenger side and opening the door of it so he entered the small circle of cars they'd created. Last night's fire had turned to embers by now, but a little coaxing would probably bring it back to its full intensity. But, knowing Robyn and her plan to move South, they'd probably leave it to die. Nate opened the back door of his car and let Oakley out to sniff around the ground as he grabbed a box of Frosted Mini Wheats. He'd never cared much for cereal, but he didn't have much of a choice now, did he? Hunched over, with his hood still up, Nate ate from the box of cereal slowly. He'd probably need to head out today to hunt with the others, but it would hopefully warm up by then. Until they woke up, however, he decided to clean his guns. Therefore, he sat himself in a old foldable chair and casually took his gun apart to clean the residue out of it.

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“I'll kill you, sorry bastard! Die!”

Considering the setting, had the above words been shouted out loud, everyone might wake up in surprise while reaching for the nearest weapon so that they could kill the threat that would immediately be assumed to be a zombie. But the words weren't shouted out loud and the assailant wasn't a zombie. The words were whisper-shouted and the assailant was Ganandorf, King of the Gerudo Thieves. Art had a blanket thrown over her as she sat in the “back back” seat of her red Nissan Rogue, hunkered over the flickering screen of her DS as she engaged in the final battle with Ganandorf. The world might be overrun by zombies but that wasn't going to stop her from saving Hyrule. Even though Robyn would complain sometimes, Art wasn't giving up any of her handhelds. She had a Gameboy Advance SP [So ancient] but she was letting Cyan borrow it. Or else she'd be finishing her pokédex. “You shall never defeat me!” Quirky girl was quirky as she grinned at the screen, dealing the final blow and cuing the theme music along with the end credits. “Record timing, Po'okela!”

She thrust the blanket away from her body and shut off her 3DS, putting it into one of the nearby compartments. She was greeted by a large white and grey canine that bore heavy resemblance to a wolf. The mixed breed lifted her head and gave a light bark, her tongue lolling out of the side of her maw as she panted and gave whine before crawling to the back hatch and pressing her head against it. “Alright. Give me a minute.” The optimistic young woman pulled the blanket closer around her body, reluctant to go through the almost deadly process of getting dressed. It was deadly for her because she hated the cold with a fiery passion, though that fiery passion did nothing to keep her warm. She would have to move quickly to hurry and get changed into new clothes which would end up with her hitting every inch of surface around her. Why couldn't the world have ended in May or June? But no – Zombies had to attack in the winter. December was coming up quick and that meant snow. Snow plus all the random crashed cars on the road plus ice equaled an unhappy Art. Not to mention that there wouldn't be many plants she could forage in the winter.

ImageShe gave a frustrated sigh akin to what a teenage boy gives his mom whenever she tells him to clean his room for the fifty millionth time. “Fuck you, winter!”, she hissed under her breath as she quickly threw the blanket away from her body and began the quick change into clean clothes that weren't gunked up with zombie innards and...outtards. A simple black and white outfit of the Underamour brand consisting of a white tanktop over a black long sleeve [and oh, so warm] shirt that clung to her, the matching [and also warm] black leggings, and a pair of white shorts. She normally wore jeans, but she planned on heading into the woods later with Kela to set her off hunting. Running away from zombies, climbing trees to escape wild boars and angry deer, and trying to evade angry badgers is best done wearing clothes that allowed breathing room and weren't liable to get caught on a branch or part of a fence during one's escape. At least that's how she viewed it with her previous experience. Had it not been for her beloved wolf mutt, she would have been mauled by a boar once when her jeans got hopelessly snagging on a fence. It was a memory worthy of a shudder when thought about. She had been through worse but being nearly mauled by a wild animal is still pretty scary.

With the final touch being her black running shoes and a black beanie, she expertly climbed over the seats [because that takes real skill] after pulling back her makeshift curtain and looked to find that the Cortez siblings were still passed out in the driver's and passenger's seats. A light smile donned her face as she pulled the blankets over them a little more, tucking in the sides before clambering out into the crisp morning air, managing to snag her basket on the way out. Kela wasn't too far behind her, immediately taking off towards the first man up and out in the open: Nate. The puppy sat at his feet, earning a look from Oakley that Art perceived as Back the fuck up. but the younger, larger pup paid no mind as she laid her heavy head on Nate's lap. “You're just super popular with all he ladies, huh?” Her Cuban accent was thick as she offered him a light smirk and a gentle hug before issuing a clipped, high pitched whistle that sent Kela to curl up by the fire that was little more than a glow. “Orange?” She pulled one of the oranges from the basket of fruit she had, giving him a kind smile as she tossed it into his lap. “We'll need our Vitamin C if this winter is anywhere as wild as last year's.” She gave a shiver partially from the cold nipping at her nose and partially from thinking about the crazy blizzard that swept over New York the previous year. She absently rubbed at her elbow after setting down her basket, nursing it from being slammed against the window as she tried to change without freezing to death. It wasn't that cold but she only liked her cold on her food and drinks.

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Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Cyan Kress
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The only sound coming from one of the central tents was a small, slow scratching. A pencil being dragged across a dirty piece of lined paper with no real intention besides making noise. Cyan was not in the best of moods that morning, all of his joints stiff from cold except his writing hand, which was busied by the eye-blurring task of tracing over his past conversations on a sheet of paper repeatedly. The words were now so dark, they looked like they might as well have been written in pen, and the they might as well be burned into his memory for eternity. Shifting slightly in the thick blanket he had wrapped around himself like a cocoon, he started to stretch out his long limbs and get them to cooperate for the day to come. Cyan had abandoning all fear of looking completely stupid in his fleece-filled heaven hours ago, in hopes to at least save up some warmth for the day to come in this freezer box. Really, who likes cold weather anyway? It has to be the worst thing in existence and was the main reason he regretted leaving the south. Though, the hellish weather aside, his mood probably wouldn't have been all the bad if he had gotten some precious sleep. He was a good sleeper, but the noises (And the very excessive chatting of his tent buddy, Minnie.) of that night were driving him to the point of insanity.

Out of the open slit of the tent, weak rays of sunshine shone through, warming the insides ever-so-slightly. Crumpling up the paper into a crude ball, tossing it aside, and stuffing a small notebook into his pocket, Cyan started to move slowly out of his cocoon. Which, of course, he immediately regretted and yanked back around his shoulders in a hurry, pushing things around in the tent clumsily to try and find his backpack, containing his stretched out hoodie. Minnie turned over in her sleep, making him freeze, not wanting to wake her and bring on a new wave of ear-burning chatter. She was nice and all, but, goodness, the little lady could talk your ears off.

Image He had no idea why he thought it was a bright idea to remove his hoodie the night before, but now he was seriously regretting that decision as he reached over the sleeping woman to his pack. Unzipping it was painfully slow, the sound far to loud in Cyan's ears, but he was soon rummaging through the contents. Art's old Gameboy sat among the things in the bag, sat beside a very sad looking teddy bear, still yet unplayed. He felt a bit bad thinking that he would be wasting her battery life, but his resistance was fading quickly at the idea of battling some Gym Leaders in the night. Upon finding the worn, grey piece of fabric among the junk, it was yanked over his head, along with some plain shoes on his feet, and he was crawling his way out into the open.

It was no warmer outside, to Cyan's annoyance, and he contemplated going back and getting the blanket. Inevitably, he decided against it, wanting to save at least a bit of the dignity he had left. Instead, he pulled up his hood, the pencil he had tucked behind his ear threatening to fall, and shoved his hands deep into his jeans' pockets before wandering toward the sound of voices. He didn't bring much to the table when it came to conversations, but he was a damn good listener in the long run. Coming up from behind Art, he stood silently, towering high over her in stature. He eyed her basket of oranges hungrily while she was distractedly talking to Nate. Trying to go unnoticed, really just not wanting to strike up a conversation, he snagged an orange from her basket without a word. But, in his haste, he bumped her arm, throwing all acts of stealthiness out the window, and ending it all with a long sigh.

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His hands moved deftly over the metal of his Winchester Model 70. As Oakley curled up around his feet, head resting on her paws, Nate settled back into the chair and wiped the inside of the barrel with an old towel he'd picked up at the last town they drove through. It wasn't the best option, for the lint it left behind didn't help him at all. The towel was already black with carbon before he'd begun. It only made it harder to tell if he was getting anything out of the barrel or if his efforts were in vain. Perhaps he'd wash it out later today if they passed a stream while hunting. Nathan stood slowly, his calf aching. He'd certainly need to stretch before going out. He hobbled to the back of his car and pulled out a bottle of solvent which, when he sat back in his chair, he sprayed into the barrel.

While he let it sit, Nate reached for another handful of strawberry Frosted Mini Wheats. They'd probably be better with milk, he mused. But, where was he going to find milk? Sure, there were probably farms around here, but Nate had not the slightest clue as to how one milked a cow. He shot a glance at the pieces of his gun and sighed. Wendy would have yelled his ear off if she knew he was leaving guns out in the open when there were kids in the camp. Times had certainly changed, though. The biggest worry in a kid's life before was receiving a good grade. Now, it was whether or not they'd live to see another day.

He was munching slowly on a single Mini Wheat when Oakley looked up suddenly, the muscles near her ears moving so that she could hear better. A blurred shape raced to him, white and gray and close to the ground. He tensed and raised the box of cereal above his head subconsciously, as if he'd much rather protect his food than himself. Realizing it was Kela, Nathan grinned and relaxed again. Oakley eyed the other dog, upper lip curling upward once before she finally relaxed.

"Hello there, girl," he said, scratching beneath her chin gently as the pup rested her head on his legs which had been clad in navy blue sweatpants since the previous night. He was fondling one of her ears when Art spoke up.

"You're just super popular with all the ladies, huh?" Nathan, returning her smirk, looked up at Art as she walked toward him. Without even thinking about it, he hugged her back with one arm, for the other one still held his cereal.
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"Well, I certainly don't like to brag," he replied, the semi-arrogant smirk spreading across his lips. "I've never had trouble with the ladies." Oakley seemed to calm as Kela ran off to the dying fire. The red wheaten colored dog settled her head back on her paws, only to look up suddenly again when the orange came flying into Nate' lap.

"Orange? We'll need our Vitamin C if this winter is anywhere as wild as last year's." Nate nodded, his smile faltering for a moment as he recalled the snowfall of the previous years. How many times had he cleared his car off, only for it to be covered by the next storm? Wendy stayed home from work many of those days. They were already on bad terms with each other by then, so it certainly didn't help that they had to deal with each other for days at a time with no respite. Nathan tore at the orange, jaw clenching slightly.

"Damn, I hope not," he said simply. Holding both arms of the chair, he painfully stood and limped toward his car with the box of cereal still in hand. He hardly folded it before tossing it into the back of his Jeep. He pressed his palms against the back window of the Jeep and leaned into it as he stretched both legs. "I know I'll be happy to be back in the South. Have you ever been to North Carolina?" The Southern state held such sweet memories. How weird it would be to drive down there for a reason other than to visit his parents. He stopped stretching suddenly, brow furrowing. He'd never visit them again.

Nathan looked up at Art, frowning subtly, and spotted the Mute just behind her, grabbing for an orange. He wouldn't have said anything, for the boy obviously was avoiding conversation, had he not bumped into Art. "Morning," he said quickly, standing upright again as he stretched his arms over his head and yawned. He didn't associate much with the boy, because he honestly couldn't tell whether the Mute was or wasn't listening to him.

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"Well, I certainly don't like to brag – I've never had trouble with the ladies." Art didn't bother biting back the cheeky smile that curled across her lips as she gave a nod. “With a face like that, I'd think you were lying if you said you did.” It wasn't completely outlandish for the two to flirt, but that was pretty much all it was. She liked to think that the two of them were friends even though it wasn't uncommon for him to find her optimism annoying every now and again. It was harder to annoy her though. She didn't even really get mad – Ever. Like Cyan and Raz, she did her best to adapt to the apocalypse without going mad and turning into an uber jerk. Not that she thought Nate was a jerk. Nate was always pretty nice to her most of the time.

Image"Have you ever been to North Carolina?", Nate asked. She had, actually. It was a nice place and she loved the farms out there though she had never been there for luxury. “Yup – At least twice a year for the past six years. Dance competitions and whatnot.” While she generally didn't openly talk about what she did before the world became hell on earth, she didn't mind talking about her past so long as people stayed away from her life up until the age of sixteen. She hated lying and she hated her life up until that point. Robyn and the Cortez kids were the only ones who knew; Robyn knew because Art saw her as a mother and knew that it was unhealthy to keep things in. Robyn even knew that she used to be a stripper. The Cortez kids knew because she used to hang out with them all the time when they were trying to avoid going home. She related to them.

But that's all depressing to think about. Jeez – He had only asked her if she'd been to North Carolina – No need to reflect back on her entire life just yet. So yeah, she confirmed that she had been there while hinting at bits of her past, having never really discussed it with Nate before. Cyan, on the other hand, knew more about her. Raz did too. Because they tended to often hide out in her Rogue, one of the tents, or out in the woods to get in some game time. They were heroes, those gamers. Saving their world from zombies, Hyrule from Ganandorf, Disney Worlds from Heartless, and pokémon worldwide from the various crime syndicates. They went above and beyond the call of duty and asked for nothing in return. Truly, the world had been left in good hands.

She was about to say something, offer to head out on an early morning hunt with him, but she felt someone brush against her arm and Nate followed with greeting the person in unison with Kela barking. She turned to see Cyan there, offering her second hug of the day and her usual friendly smile. “Welcome to the party.” She had picked a somewhat dull red apple from the basket that was now sitting on the ground, biting into it. It tasted like a green apple, but it was still juicy and crunchy so she couldn't complain. With winter already on their tails, she couldn't be picky with her choice of fruits and vegetables available as long as they weren't rotten. She noticed that Cyan had snagged an orange and wondered for a moment if he hadn't wanted to be seen. “So – How'd you boys sleep?” She moved so that she wasn't standing between them, opting to instead sit on the ground beside Kela. There wasn't much left to toss onto the dying fire, but she managed to work up a nice small roaring fire that was good for cooking small things and certainly keeping her small hands warm.

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If you would have asked her if she was a morning person before this hell on Earth shindig - which really put a dapper on all of her morning plans and actually being normal...not that she was particularly normal or anything; she still watched Tom & Jerry and Adventure Time for goodness sake and could probably tell you every character off of Supernatural - so not the point. Damn, even in her head she babbled, Chloe mused and sealed the nail polish bottle in her bag.

Chloe Simmons had never been a morning person.

In fact, before all of this, she was probably one of the crabbiest people you'd ever meet in the morning. She preferred starting her mornings with Chai tea infused with some vanilla creamer (coffee was definitely not as great as coffee-holics made it out to be) even though she liked English Breakfast Tea better. She would have to have two steaming cups before even considering hopping in the shower. Even then, under the hot spray of water and the scent of vanilla from her body wash, she truly contemplated calling a sick day every single day. Mornings just weren't her thing. However, ever since she watched one of her best friends turn into a zombie and proceed to kill her, sleeping in stopped being a part of her plan.

Instead, on mornings like these when no one was particularly busy or needed her, she would entertain herself - do something. Like right now, how her nails just finished drying, a bright bubblegum pink shade that brought out the color in her light complexion. Chloe glanced around the tent, noting that most were still sleep or just getting ready to awaken. So, she pulled out her tablet from her bag. Luckily for her, half a battery still remained. She didn't even want to consider pulling out her laptop; the battery was still full and she didn't want to waste it. Chloe sighed, turned her tablet on, and proceeded to play Tetris.

After a good fifteen minutes of cognitive challenging with a sprinkle of fun, Chloe sighed rather loudly and turned it off. Decidedly, she removed herself from the warm and thick blanket she managed to procure, stood, and stretched lithely. While not the most flexible person in the world, Bikram Yoga worked wonders on her slim body and was rather loose in the bones. Satisfied and partially awake, Chloe grabbed her scrunchie and gathered her long hair in her hands, raking slender fingers through the soft locks until she finally tied the scrunchie around it. Once that was done, she pulled one of the sweaters given to her by Robyn, slid on boots they found at their last location, and then continued out of the tent.

If there was anything the others probably gathered from Chloe was that colder weather did not bother her. She was a Northerner at heart; the cold and her just got along. Besides, she spent the majority of it either curled up with a good book and tea or actually playing outside with her sister. Thinking of her sister sent a pang to her heart and Chloe shut her eyes at it, shaking her head. She hated being one of the more emotional ones. Finally, her eyes fell on the small group that had formed near Nathan's car. Chloe walked towards them determinedly, not exactly trusting herself to walk off in any other direction lest she procure the attention of the zombie.

Definitely don't need to be danger-prone Daphne first thing in the morning.

"Morning, guys. Sorry if I'm interrupting," Chloe added the last part just to be nice as she felt like she did just walk into the middle of a conversation. She smiled at Art, Nathan and Cyan as brightly as she could, lips still holding onto the remnants of the magenta hue of the last lipstick she used even though she had resorted to just using her lip balm lately. "How are you guys?"

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"Morning." The sudden greeting from the solider made Cyan flinch, caught off guard and almost dropping his newly swiped orange. It felt like he just got caught red-handed, taking from Art's basket silently, planning to just scamper off unnoticed afterward. Or maybe it would be orange-handed? Either way, it put a serious kink in his plan, though, Nate didn't seem very much interested beyond the basic greeting.
Image Which was perfectly fine, since Cyan didn't particularly like associating with Nate for too long. It wasn't like he disliked the older man, but Nate's personality reminded Cyan of the jock-types back at his high school. It was basic fight-or-flight instinct for someone like himself, a geeky kid who would always choose the latter over the former option, to want to steer away from that kind of person, right? At least that's what he told himself.

Even if that was how he felt, being rude was never an option. Cyan solemnly nodded in return to Nate, though the solider had already turned his attention to his stretches. Saving him from the ever awkward 'Unrecognized Gesture' was Art, turning around to give him a hug, which was returned with a bit less vigor than herself, and a bright smile, "Welcome to the party." Unlike Nate, Cyan felt really comfortable around Art, often chatting about games and movies with her and Raz in their free time, so he had no problem returning the smile earnestly. He moved back a bit to make space, feeling a bit cramped, and leaning against the door of one of the cars in their makeshift protection ring. He moved his attention to the task of ripping open that orange with frosted fingers, half wondering if it would be frowned upon to stab it with his pencil for some assistance."So- How'd you boys sleep."

Awful. He hadn't slept a wink thanks to the chatterbox that was Minnie, and all the things that happened to go bump in the night, but he wasn't about to say that. Or... Write that? Motion? Whatever, technicalities. Either way, not needing to bitch and moan, he nodded enthusiastically, as if to say he slept very well, before Cyan, having peeled most of his orange, wasted no time to start popping segments into his mouth, wincing a bit as he swallowed at the bitter-sweet taste. The citrus kind of burned his throat in an unpleasant way, but it tasted so good. He continued. Polishing it off, he plunged his hands back into his pockets, his fingers brushing over his notebook, having lost all feeling in them prior. Looking down at his feet, he started mentally willing them to be warm. This would be the time he would kill to be a Jedi, using The Force to create some kind of warming friction. Or... Maybe being a superhero would be better. Lamer heroes like The Human Torch and The Flash were looking pretty sweet right about now to be honest.

Cyan looked up from his feet only when Chloe approached, joining the little sub-group of survivors in their morning get-together. Morning, guys. Sorry if I'm interrupting. How are you guys?" A smile and slight nod was all he could muster in his half-frozen state. He probably would have written something down by now, maybe making some attempt to speak with them, a 'Hello' or 'No, you're not interrupting.', but his fingers were frozen, and, to be completely honest here, he was a tad lazy when it came down to it. So, silent he stayed.

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"Oh Rasul, you're so smart and handsome." Rasul's head rested on the lap of a beautiful bikini clad woman, the warm sun heating the sand around them, the crash of the waves a lovely melody. He didn't know where he was but he simply didn't care. He hummed happily, contented smile on his face as she cooed at him. "Oh Rasul... Raz, Raz. Raz. RAZ WAKE UP."

Rasul groaned as he was shook awake, "Noooooo don't go bikini lady come back." He whined as he felt himself gaining consciousness.

"Wait what?"

A loud drone of a groan escaped Rasul. He now knew where he was, and instead of being warm he was fucking freezing his balls off, even though he was rolled up in three blankets. "Why couldn't you just let me spend more time with the bikini lady man, we were on a bEACH Harold a BEACH." Rasul cried out, distraught at having to face the reality of another day and deciding to take it out on his tent partner, Harold.

Image"Because you have to fix the mustang before we can leave remember? It keeps making that funny noise. Besides you were the one to tell me to wake you up early." Harold reminded Rasul, which caused Rasul to let out these obnoxious whining noises of displeasure. It was true, Raz had work to do. He was the group's go to person for fixing everything, and the only one that was any good at helping him was Cyan. Him and Cyan, the group's handymen. It wasn't just fixing things that Rasul accomplished though, he also wanted to make some modifications to the cars, already some of them had their windows reinforced with metal mesh, just in case the windows broke. Unfortunately his blow torch was out of fuel now, he could perhaps do some more proper modifications once they got south where it was warmer.

Rasul proceeded to get dressed under the covers as best he could, shimmying this way and that, the whole ordeal ridiculous looking and taking more time than necessary. Once he finally accomplished this, which seemed not even necessary since the clothes he changed into weren't the cleanest, Rasul headed out. He waked funny, his body all crampy from sleeping in a tent, he had to stretch this way and that to try and regain some normalcy of his joints. "Burr!" He made a straight bee-line towards the red mustang. "Here's my problem child, let's see what's wrong with you honey." Rasul popped the hood and stared at it for a good moment, clicking his tongue. "I forgot my tools." He shut the hood of the car and walked over to Art's rogue. He didn't want to wake her but he really needed his tool box. "Sunshiiiinnnnneeee." He knocked on her windows, cupping his hands to look inside, not there. In the morning he wasn't always there, he was definitely slower, so it took him a bit to notice that Art was not too far away.

"Goodmorning beautiful!" He approached the group surrounding Nathan's car with his arms wide open, acting like he was expecting a hug. He evaded Art with a sudden turn however and greeted her dog instead. "Aaahahahah! I was just kidding Art. Got you though eeeyyyyy." Rasul laughed at his own hilarious antics, finally giving Art the hug she deserved. "And a good morning to everyone else present, Cyan you beautiful bastard, I would stay but I need to go fix the mustang real quick. I just need Art's rogue unlocked so I can get my tools. Pretty please?" He put his hands together, giving Art a pleading look.

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"C'mon boys, keep up the pace." William said as he continued walking at a brisk pace. There were two men behind him, Pvt. Genthner, and Pfc. Kayas. They continued after William, checking all of the possible places a zombie could unexpectedly run out of.

They'd just walked away from a major engagement of their platoon. It was only a matter of time before their platoon would be overrun. It was decided by 1st Sgt. Neil Munoz, that he, Lt. Andrews, would take a couple men and go find help from the rest of the company. Their radios had gone haywire recently, which was why there were communication problems between bodies of troops.

"You sure we're going the right way Lieutenant?" that was Kayas.

"Well Private, do you know where to go?" There was no answer from the GI. As they continued, they found a boarded up clothing store. "Let's take a short break here." William said. "I'm tired too you know." as he said this, he tried the door, and found it to swing right open. The company walked in cautiously and took seats on the floor.

"Do you really think we should be resting here Lieutenant?" it was Pvt. Genthner this time. "I mean...our guys could be...you know..."

"Well honestly, I don't see the point of letting ourselves tire to the point that we can't even raise our gun points." he replied. "Don't worry Private, we'll get help in time." "Get help? What a joke, there wasn't even a good chance that any of them would even survive for much longer. They were all gonna die, and he was the only one who could at least let the troops die a confident, heroic death."

It was then, when they all heard, or more felt, movement. The group raised there weapons and were greeted by a miniature horde of zombies. "Shit!" screamed Kayas firing his weapon on full auto.

"Don't waste your ammo!" William yelled over the gunfire, firing his own weapon on burst. "And don't let the damned things get to you!"

"Ah!!!" Genthner screamed as a zombie grabbed him. He pushed it away and nailed it with the butt of his gun.

"Careful private!" William yelled. "Let's get the hell out of here!" The company inched backwards towards the exit, until a couple zombies finally broke through. They indulged in Genthner's flesh as he screamed at the top of his lungs.

"Get the hell out of here Lieutenant!" Kayas screamed re-assuming a crouching position.

"Wait! Wha-? Kayas cut in on the middle of his sentence.

"You know damn well that some captain won't listen to a lowly Private! And you know just as well as I do that both of us aren't gonna get out of here alive! Now get the hell out of here while you still can!" to add emphasis, the Private first class inserted a fresh magazine. Stunned, William listened to the words of the GI and ran out of the building.

As he continued running, he swore he could here the Private's screams...




William jolted awake inside of his tent. Coren was still asleep next to him, but it was already daytime. He looked around the tent for the Winchester model 1894 he'd picked up after he'd ran out of ammo on his personal fire arm. It was there, so feeling reassured, he unzipped himself from his sleeping bag. Not even bothering to wake Coren up, he crawled out of his tent and towards the group.

"Hey everybody..." he said approaching the group assembled.

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Character Portrait: Chloe Simmons Character Portrait: Rasul Hendricks Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Robyn Dempsey Character Portrait: Cyan Kress Character Portrait: William Andrews
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Light was shining through the mesh of her tent and that was the first thing Robyn was aware of when she awoke to the sound of movement outside. The beam of sunshine, filtered through the trees above, seemed to burn her eyes as she opened them reluctantly. It wasn't that she hated mornings, she just didn't like breaking camp. Every day they moved further South was another day further from her daughter. That was, of course, if her daughter was still alive. But, Philipa-- or rather, Hero, for her despised her first name and insisted on her middle name-- was a tough cookie like her mothers. Perhaps she had made it out alive. Robyn knew she shouldn't be negative.

She'd left her phone on her pillow, and she checked it now for a missed call. Nothing. Yawing, the ginger sat up and stretched her arms over her head as far as they would go. The tent wasn't quite high. Robyn grabbed her hair and held it in a bunch as, deftly, she worked it into a bun with an old hair tie. She'd been dressed in sweatpants and two hoodies since last night. Over that, Robyn had had a blanket, but now that the sun was shining into the tent, it felt much warmer than the night before. Out of habit, she hummed a tune under her breath while pulling sneakers on over her socks. Beverly had once yelled at Robyn for humming in the morning, so she'd stopped. As soon as she stopped, the blonde began to complain about how quiet it was in the mornings. She never complained about the humming again.
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She pushed herself through the tent flap and cringed at the cold. The double sweatshirts certainly didn't help fight the cold as much as she thought they would.

"Good morning, fellow campers," she said in a chipper morning, followed by another yawn. It was a very light, happy greeting, but everyone in the camp knew the circumstances were far from light or happy. "Everyone sleep well?" She looked over all of the "campers" and smiled broadly. She'd known them only a few weeks at most, but they were already her family in so many ways. She pushed a strand of hair that had fallen from her bun back behind her ear. She chewed lightly at the inside of her cheek. "I was thinking we'd head out in a few hours. I think we all want to get away from this weather."

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Nate chuckled to himself at Art's response. "You flatter me," he remarked, winking at her. They were flirting emptily, both of them knew it. Yet, he'd be lying if he said he didn't truly enjoy these interactions. Art could be unbearably optimistic at times, but he found it hard to bear any ill will toward her. His wife had been the same way, and he'd been the same way before his injury. No one, it seemed, could really say they hated her and mean it. It would certainly be nice to have such a relationship with the others, he mused, but Nate knew that he had to keep up the harsh exterior he'd adopted. At least he felt it let the others know he was a force to be reckoned with, not an injured war veteran.

"At least twice a year for the past six years. Dance competitions and whatnot." Nate nodded and crouched down to tie his shoes tighter. It seemed impossible in this weather to imagine the warm, summer air or the feel of the waves pushing and pulling at him. It all just felt so surreal-- was he really never going to spend a lazy day on the beach again? How could he, really, with an army of the undead around every corner? "It's one hell of a place to grow up in," he replied, though a bit softer than he'd spoken before. "Damn I miss it." He wasn't quite sure if Art had heard him, for she then acknowledged Cyan, who almost dropped his orange. He struggled to keep himself from chuckling at the boy's misfortune. Eventually, he failed, and a sly smirk played on his lips. Turning away, Nate opened the back of his car and began stuffing bullets and knives and pistols into a backpack.

The world nowadays was too quiet for his liking. It wasn't that he liked the commotion; he certainly didn't enjoy it at all. The silence, however, greatly contrasted the constant babble on heard in New York, no matter what time of day it was. Just as he'd been getting used to it, the country (or, perhaps, the world) fell silent. The silence was unnerving, too. Small sounds felt amplified, and there were nights when he woke with a start to the sound of Oakley barking softly in her sleep or another group member weaving between the hoard of tents.

So, how'd you boys sleep?" Nate shoved a few granola bars into the bag and then closed the hatch. As he looked toward Art, his gaze lingered on Cyan, eyes quickly looking the boy over as if inspecting him, even though they'd been in the group together for a while-- or, actually, two weeks. Time moved slowly in the apocalypse, however. "Like a baby." He was lying. He couldn't be the only one who still slept uneasily. How could he sleep soundly? Two of his children were missing, and he'd seen the other one die in his arms after he'd killed his own parents. These thoughts came to Nate in the middle of the night, plaguing his mind. If only, if only. "And, uh, you? How'd you sleep?" Before she could answer, the group grew in size with the addition of Chloe.

"Morning, guys, Sorry if I'm interrupting. How are you guys?" Nate leaned up against his car and nodded to the young woman, forcing up whatever remnant of a smile he could. This day certainly wasn't starting off well for him.

"Morning to you, too." He crossed his arms over his chest, cutting the word SOCCER in half, length-ways. "Relatively well." He smiled briefly at his own joke. How could one be okay when every turn brought on the threat of brain-munching, shuffling zombies? Rasul, the computer one as Nate remembered him by, was the next to wake. He was peppy that morning, too peppy, and Nathan rolled his eyes with little subtlety. He wasn't sure what it was, but his earlier mood seemed to have suddenly left him. Perhaps it was the recollection of his past life, or the memory of his daughter dying. Whatever it was, he was angrier than before.
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"Hey everybody..." said a voice from the edge of the group. Nathan looked up as he loaded his rifle and pistols. A sly smirk crossed his lips, coupled by a brief laugh. The younger man outranked him, he was aware of that, but he had far more experience than the Lieutenant.

"Morning, Lieutenant," he replied, slinging his backpack over a single shoulder. "You ready to head out soon for a quick hunt?" He cocked an eyebrow slightly, head tilting to the side like a curious dog's. As he started to get ready to leave, Oakley jumped to her paws and moved to his side, tail wagging back and forth.

He was too busy taunting the younger man, he almost failed to hear Robyn. As he caught her last few words, he turned his head around. Like the rest of the group, Nate viewed the woman, who was only ten or so years his senior, as a motherly figure. His mother, being an active lawyer throughout his childhood, hadn't been much of a mother at all. Robyn was different. She was nurturing and caring. Nate found it difficult to find anything wrong with the woman at all. His wife had once been that loving and tender, but she'd grown distant as he grew bitter with resentment. She was the only one, he felt, that he could be open with. She understood, or at least she tried to understand. He wouldn't say any of this out loud, of course.

That seemed to be Robyn's only flaw, perhaps. She was too open, too soft at times. She wasn't adamant about her opinions, she merely suggested and waited for the others to come to a consensus which, more often than not, was the same as what she'd suggested. He knew moving South was the best decision, but if the others didn't agree, would Robyn have merely let the group stay here to freeze to death? The group needed a tough leader, and while Robyn was greatly respected by each and every group member, Nate certainly couldn't help but feel that she couldn't fill this role. Again, he couldn't say this. He couldn't turn them against him already. Instead, he muttered an obvious observation. "Damn, it's cold. What I wouldn't give for a warm shower and some heat..."

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Chloe felt herself brighten a little at Cyan's welcoming smile and offered a bigger one for him. She even managed a smile for Nathan. She would never admit it out loud, but the man actually intimidated her. Could you blame her? She was the suburban child with no experience in the field and a childhood filled with nothing but happiness save for the constant parental verbal disagreements. With Nathan Durand, Chloe was pretty sure it was the complete opposite.

Another inquiry was just at the tip of her tongue, but then Rasul came out with all of his happiness and energy and just not what Chloe needed to hear first thing in the morning. Which sucked because she used to be able to say she was as energetic as he was. She offered him a nod and a smile for the morning before clutching the sweater she was wearing to her body; it was loose enough on her slender arms that she could hide her hands within the confines of the sleeves.

Next came William. Chloe didn't think he liked them. In fact, she knew he didn't. He just gave off that vibe. Not like it intimidated her or anything. In all actuality, she found William...interesting to say the least. He wasn't mean to say the least, but he wasn't the most inviting person in the group - and was this an army/navy/military thing...the whole, I'm-unapproachable-and-you-are-all-not-on-my-level or was she just paranoid?

No, just babbling in my head.

"Good morning, William," she offered with a polite smile and an accompanying wave in his direction.

Not a few seconds later and Robyn was emerging from her tent. Chloe would not hesitate in admitting this, but she was kind of in admiration over Robyn; not just because she was a decent leader and appealed to everyone, but because Robyn was open. Chloe had met several other people within the group that were open, but Robyn just reminded Chloe of her mom and that always left a warm, bittersweet feeling in her chest. Shaking herself out of it, she heard the last bit of what Robyn said and walked over to the older woman.

One of the things she hated was that she wasn't exactly build for this kind of thing. Killing zombies, going after objects needed for the camp while trying not to die - none of things were on the list for things Chloe Simmons could do. However, there was one thing she could do that not many could do better.

Computers.

"Actually, if you're alright with that - I'm just assuming you will be because, let's be real, this is kinda still helpful despite the apocalypse and zombies and the grrrr -" Her hands tended to like to get involved when she spoke, especially when she was a tad bit nervous, and they actually did this little dinasour impersonation when she gave a growl. "But I could probably, ya know, check Facebook or any other social media website. Not because I wanna check mine or anything - why would I wanna do that when we're trying not to get eaten alive? - but because..." She really needed to stop babbling. "Teenagers. Even through any catastrophic event, teenagers will be the most likely to post statuses. I can track the latest ones in the South and see if, ya know, it's safe - or what part of it is safe because nowhere is safe at this point. And then we can head in that direction."

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"Morning, Lieutenant," William heard a voice answer. He turned to see the ex-Sargent to be the owner of the voice. "You ready to head out soon for a quick hunt?" the older man said in taunting tone. William really wasn't sure what to make of the ex-soldier, he didn't really get a bad vibe off of him, yet something felt sort of...off.

"Good morning, William," it was the IT girl this time. Before he could have a chance to reply, the group "leader" made her appearance.

"Good morning, fellow campers," she announced. "Everyone sleep well?" she asked with a smile on her face. "I was thinking we'd head out in a few hours. I think we all want to get away from this weather." Although William had to agree on this statement, he didn't completely understand why this women was the "leader" of the group.

In his opinion, it would be much more appropriate for him, or at least that ex-NCO to lead the group. Nevertheless... he thought. I guess I could continue to play it there way, at least for the time being... William couldn't help but think about the need of getting someone on his side. He was already in good relations with Corren, but he knew that when it came to it, Corren would sell him out at a seconds notice.

Maybe it would be a good idea to get on that veteran's good side... Yeah I'll be ready to hunt, just give me a few minutes. William replied to the veteran. He went back inside his tent to grab his Winchester and some ammo, he strapped a holster onto his hip, and slipped a pistol inside of it. He also put on his body armor under a warm winter jacket. Before he left the tent, he shook Corren awake. Your gonna get left behind if you don't get up soon. he said leaving the tent.

He walked back to the group loading the rifle. The Winchester felt familiar and natural in his hands. William remembered the times he'd went hunting along with his father with the weapon. It held seven shots, was operated by a smooth lever, and had an effective range of around 200 yards. Given to a marksman like him, factoring in that it was an obsolete military weapon, he would still be able to do considerable damage with it.

”I’m ready, but wait up for Corren, he should be ready soon.”

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Nathan and Cyan both expressed that they had slept relatively well, though Art was sure Cy was lying. The insomniac could hear Minnie chatting her head off in a one-sided conversation through most of the night. If there was an aggressive bone in her body Art might have gone and kicked the girl. Okay, probably not. But she would have thrown a shoe at the tent or yelled at the younger girl. Or something. But she didn't. She just ignored her and drowned her out by watching An American In Paris. Art would have gladly invited Cyan to watch with them but then she'd have to invite Minnie too and the last time she watched a movie with Minnie, the girl still wouldn't shut up. She was that one friend you never wanted to go to the movies with. She was a nice girl, definitely. But Art didn't really want to spend too much time around her. Talkative people tended to be people who liked to know things and Art did her best to keep many things about her private.

ImageBefore she could launch into conversation with Nathan and Cyan, it seemed as though everyone decided that it was time to get up – Not that she was complaining. She greeted Chloe with a wave, standing up and preparing to give the other member of the nerd herd [as Art liked to call their little faction within the group] when Rasul made towards her. She had opened her arms as well and was turning to give him a hug... But he veered away and she caught air. It didn't matter how many times he did it, she was probably always going to fall for it. Her face turned red as he came back and gave her the hug she had been expecting [and so rightfully deserved] and she hugged him back with enthusiasm. He was the only other person in the group that she could count on to remain optimistic with her. "And a good morning to everyone else present, Cyan you beautiful bastard, I would stay but I need to go fix the mustang real quick. I just need Art's rogue unlocked so I can get my tools. Pretty please?" Rasul's big brown eyes were pleading and wide, but the sparkle in them was playful.

“Oye, chico. Try not to wake up the kids.” She smiled as she tossed him the keys after fishing them from the safest place a woman could ever stash anything: Right between her breasts. “Don't sniff my keys this time, crazy.” She chucked her keys at him with a friendly grin before returning to her apple. Her gaze followed Chloe's for a moment as William approached and she had the same thoughts. Almost. Creeper. She didn't dislike William. She didn't know him well enough to pass judgment. Which was why he was a creeper. Anybody who didn't want to get to know her was automatically a creeper as far as she was concerned because she was absolutely fabulous. Still, she offered him a polite wave, though no fruit. No fruit for yooou. Her inner voice was really creepy, as she noted to herself while carrying out an internal dialogue. With herself. She wasn't crazy, just animated.

“We should try to stop around a town. Food's running low and winter's going to make it harder to get organics.” And by organics, she meant deer that Nathan and the others had to shoot in the face and grapes she had to go pick. The wasn't sure that cattail soup was going to go over well with the gang when bologna was still an option. Even though she wouldn't touch bologna with a ten foot pole. Nathan used to grouch at her for being a picky eater and not wanting any of his gross Captain Crunch cereal. Yeah. She'd eat that junk just as soon as she choke down smoke from a cigarette. As everyone else seemed to be doing their own thing, she pursed her lips together and puffed up her cheeks. “I'm going to hunt too. Not really. Kela will. I need to get more plant stuffs.” She didn't intend on tagging along behind any of the three men hunting. Per usual, she was going to go her own way so she didn't bother them.

With her mind made up and nobody in the position to stop her, she was gone. Of course, she had emptied her basket of dwindling fruits onto a blanket someone had left out the previous night. She was determined as she made her way towards the tree line, further and further away from her group. Knife? Just a small pocket knife. Gun? Right. She had a gun. The one thing that she had going for her was that she was faster than the others and more stamina. Dancers - They're freakin' awesome. So maybe she couldn't shoot a bulky gun or have the stomach to jab a knife into the decaying brains of a walking, rotting corpse. But man could she run. Kela was padding alongside her. Art actually really enjoyed going hunting with Kela. She used to take pictures of the large dog taking down deer. Absolute elegance. But she didn't have much time for that anymore and she didn't really think anyone else in the group besides herself and Cyan would really appreciate the artistic nature of it.

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Character Portrait: Chloe Simmons Character Portrait: Rasul Hendricks Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Robyn Dempsey Character Portrait: Cyan Kress Character Portrait: William Andrews
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Shortly after Chloe arrived to their little morning meeting, everyone, save a few straggling souls, seemed to wake at once. Raz was the next to join in, as bubbly and over-the-top as ever, syke-ing Art out of a hug to show affections to her hound. Cyan couldn't help but chuckle, though Art didn't look too pleased with the joke until Rasul gave her the hug she had been offering, "And a good morning to everyone else present, Cyan you beautiful bastard, I would stay but I need to go fix the mustang real quick." Cyan rolled his eyes at the comment in an comically-over-dramatic nature, fishing into his pocket to find his notepad, planning to offer his assistance with the mustang if needed. That was the plan anyway, had it not been for the appearance of the others distracting him, leaving him standing there stupidly, notepad half-out of his pocket.

Image "Hey, everybody." Cyan wrinkled his nose at the appearance of the Lieutenant, coming up from behind Chloe to say his morning greetings. The mute held William in the same regard as he held Nate, not with dislike, but with caution and avoidance. Old habits die hard, what can you do? Though, Cyan had to admit he got a weird vibe from the military men, but that could easily be written off as his own paranoia, which wasn't few and far between as the world gets weirder by the day.

Cyan pulled at the drawstrings of his hood, tightening it about his face, the cold really becoming too much for his little southern soul. Decaying corpses that waltz around in the daylight like its completely normal? Death waiting at every door, around every corner, and ready to jump down on you from above? He could handle that. That was totally okay with Cyan, 'And actually a tad bit awesome...' Somewhere in the back of his mind, his little inner Jiminy Cricket chimed in, at maybe an unnecessary time. Only at the appearance of the mom of the group (Or, at least, Cyan liked to think of her that way.) announcing that she wanted the group to head south was the sweetest sound the mute had ever heard. He had the sudden urge to hug the wonderful red-haired woman. Had he been as outgoing as Ras, maybe he would have, but awkward tendencies got the best of him and he settled with nodding enthusiastically at Robyn's suggestion.

Though, Art did have a point. It will take awhile to get to warmer weather from here, even if they still had cars, it doesn't mean that there aren't going to be things to slow them down. Things like blocked roads and large amounts of Zombs should be taken into account. Hunting and gathering is great, but it just really isn't going to work once it gets too cold, all the fuzzy things going to catch some major Z's and the plants freezing over. Plus, as the rest had suggested, the ones in the group who can hunt should be getting at it while they still could, while the ones who can't should probably make themselves useful elsewhere. Cyan fit in the latter category.

Making his decision, he yanked his notepad all the way out of his pocket, snatching his pencil from behind his ear, and scribbling something down. When he was finished, he held it up to be read, to really no one in particular.

His handwriting was sloppy, written in all capitals and slanting to the point where it looked like the words were trying to run right off the page, but at least it was legible. 'I could go into town while you all go hunting. Pick up some stuff.' Cyan cocked his head to the side, indicating it was more of a suggestion than a definite statement. As an afterthought, he added, 'Need anything in particular?'

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Character Portrait: Chloe Simmons Character Portrait: Rasul Hendricks Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: Robyn Dempsey Character Portrait: William Andrews
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Nathan waited briefly for a response out of the younger soldier, but it never came because of Robyn's appearance from her tent. He really didn't mind, of course, for he probably wouldn't have given the younger man much of his time anyway. He grabbed the box of cereal and poured some into the front pocket. Perhaps it would lure in an animal. Regardless, he knew that leaving it in the box would create too much noise. Silence was his friend as many of the animals he'd be hunting were snuggling up for the winter. Soon, he knew, he'd be unable to find enough food to last them more than a day or two at a time.

As the others told Robyn how they'd contribute before moving out, Nate opened his car and pulled out a pair of brown work boots. Once, they'd been light and the laces had yellow flecks on a field of black. Now, however, the fawnish brown had turned muddy with the moist forests he'd trekked through. Before the world went to shit, he might have been angry over this. Now, however, was no time for fashion. Perhaps he'd find a back-up pair next time they drove through a town. As he pulled the boots on over his thick, calf-length socks, Nathan chewed absentmindedly on a piece of orange until it was no more. Nate tied them on tightly. It certainly wouldn't be good if he twisted his ankle now. Oakley, meanwhile, paced eagerly around his backpack.
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"Yeah, I'll be ready to hunt. Just give me a few minutes."

"Not a problem, kiddo." Nate said to the younger man as the Lieutenant ducked back in his tent. He personally set the Winchester Model 70 against the car and stuffed the knife he'd used earlier in his backpack, which held numerous rounds of ammo, a Nalgene bottle, and some granola bars. He still had the pistol in the waistband of his pants, but how he pulled it out and tossed it in the backpack. Couldn't risk losing that if he had to run. Finally, he zipped up the backpack and pulled on an L.L. Bean fleece jacket his mother had gotten some Christmas for him years ago. Slinging the backpack on, Nathan grabbed his gun and sighed as the Lieutenant emerged from his tent and requested they wait for the other soldier. Quickly, he shook his head. "I'm not waiting for him. He should get his ass up with the rest of us." He gave Oakley a pat on the head. "We'll head out before you. Catch up when your buddy's awake...or, just let him catch up to us."

Nate looked back to the others just as Art was leaving. "Wait-," he began to say, trying to ask if she wanted to come along with him. He worried about her going out alone. Out of the group, it was really only her and Robyn who seemed the least bit friendly around him. Perhaps that was why he was fond of the young woman. She reminded him of what his wife had been like before his injury had torn them apart. Actually, though he wouldn't admit it, she merely reminded him of what he'd wished Wendy was like. She was bubbly, of course, but only for a while. Wendy was bubbly in the way most high school girls, high on life, are. In truth, he hardly knew the woman who bore his children. But Art was the spitting image of what he thought Wendy was like, so he was oddly possessive of the young girl in a way that wasn't romantic per say. He watched the girl and her dog disappear with a sigh. Well, maybe he'd follow her at least.

As he moved away from the camp, Nate stopped to give Robyn a tight, one armed hug that lasted a few seconds. In turn, she hugged him back. With one quick glance back at the young soldier to see if he was coming, Nate ventured into the woods with Oakley at his feet. Both figures cautiously tread over the leaves, senses heightened by the rush hunting brought. Man and beast moved similarly through the brush, on the look out for movement.

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Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: William Andrews
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"Not a problem, kiddo."

William fumed at the older man's response. "Kiddo? Kiddo? An NCO does not simply just call a COMMISSIONED OFFICER of the US Army kiddo. Much less an EX-NCO." And even worse, his other response to William's request to wait for Corren.

"I'm not waiting for him. He should get his ass up with the rest of us." Before William had a chance to respond to THAT, the man just plain left all-together. "We'll head out before you. Catch up when your buddy's awake...or, just let him catch up to us." William just stood there for a second, stunned at the amount of disrespect he had just received. Even though he didn't have a platoon to command, or a commander to take commands from, he was still 2nd Lt. Andrews of the 17th infantry battalion-Charlie company-2nd platoon. He deserved the respect and the authority of a CO in the US army. When he snapped out of it, William called for the one responsible for his waiting.

"Corren let's move!" His shout was hastily replied to.

"Alright, alright! I'm almost ready! Shortly after, Corren burst out of his tent still putting on his jacket. The two quickly made there way towards the direction in which the former NCO had went. William secured the lever on his Winchester and strapped on his US military issue helmet. "Just like training" he thought.

A little while into the two men's trek, William realized that Corren had come relatively unprepared. The man's rush to be ready for the hunt had left the consequence of an unprepared hunter. "Corren," William inquired. "Did you even bring a weapon?"

"'course I did." the other man replied brandishing his .357 magnum.

"Well, at least he didn't forget that. " "How many rounds? Corren rummaged around in his pockets for a while.

"About 20 extra." William sighed. He knew if they were to encounter some real trouble, that would not be enough. As the two continued to try to catch up to the senior hunter, they grew more aware of the sounds around them. A herd of undead would be very dangerous in this position.

Suddenly, William caught some movement out of the corner of his eye. His index finger instinctively tightened around the trigger and he brang the weapon to his shoulder, scanning the radius of the area in which the movement had come from. Corren also got the idea and brang his hand-cannon to a firing position, pulling back the hammer. William again caught the movement, this time really seeing the object. It seemed to be human, but only seemed. (OOC: Nathan)

William decided to take the risk of offering surrender to the...thing. If it was human, they might've found another survivor, but if it was a zombie, then things could get complicated. "This is Second Lieutenant William D. Andrews of the United States Army. Drop any weapons you may have and keep your hands where I can see them. I repeat, I am not alone, and we will open fire if you decide not to cooperate." The military officer controlled his breathing to steady his heart and aligned his sights. Even Corren followed suite. If the thing was a zombie or uncooperative human, it would be killed before it had a chance to do anything.

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Character Portrait: Art Character Portrait: Nathan Durand Character Portrait: William Andrews
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#, as written by Vix
Art had been too far ahead to hear Nate call out for her, stepping carefully and beat boxing to herself, throwing in a few random lyrics here and there, freestyling to no one but herself. Her voice faded in and out as she bobbed her head, pausing every now and then to stoop down and pick up some mushrooms or wild blackberries, tossing them into her basket. Kela ran ahead of her, happy to be out of the cramped space of the Rogue. Despite the world having ended, Art had to admit that it brought about peace. She didn't really miss the constant sounds of honking horns, yelling people, and airplanes overhead. “Hey, Kela. Slow down!” The woman glanced up to see her dog slowly fading from sight, assuming she had found a rabbit or something.

She knew that Kela would come back once she gave up or caught it, but the idea of being out in the woods all alone freaked her out. Especially with the fog and three men with guns running around. Of course they – Or at least Nate – wouldn't shoot her on purpose, but there was always the chance of an accident. Frowning, she went further in after her dog until she came upon a stream. That was nice. That meant grapes! It didn't take her hazel-green eyes long to spot fat purple grapes growing on a vine that was creeping up a rusted old fence. Humming to herself, she waded across the shallow stream for the harvest, keeping her ears open for any crunching twigs and leaves. “Still can't decide if this is better than stripping,” she spoke aloud to herself, using her knife to cut the grape bunches from their vines.


“Used to dance naked just to get by but now I'm fighting zombies just to stay alive.
Joined up with Robyn and a bunch of others, working hard and looking out for each other.
From Broadway to the highway, living in a car.
The world is dead and my mind is scarred.
But I've got an open heart and an open mind and friends by my side until the day that I die.
And we'll make it together, not one person left behind.
Except maybe Will because we don't know how he is aligned.
With Robyn so beautiful and so brave, a mother pushing us to survive each day.
Ras makes us laugh with his crazy personality, got that beautiful mind, a geek mentality.
Cy can't talk but that doesn't matter, he's a real cool kid with no need for the chatter.
Chloe, oh Chloe. That's a real smart girl. Going to raise some geniuses when we rebuild this world.
Minnie...The girl can't shut up.
Then there's Nate -”


Art had heard crunching leaves behind her and paused, brandishing her knife with a light frown.

"What about Nate?"

A voice sounded from the brush and Art gave a light smile, letting herself relax as Nate called out in question. The first shape to emerge was that of Oakley. She darted from a clump of bushes, creating a blur of brick-colored fur that stopped suddenly in the center of the clearing as the dog sniffed around cautiously. Her gaze focused on Art, and she pinned her ears against the back of her head. However, she didn't growl or bark. She merely watched the woman who had been previously rapping. Nate, meanwhile, began to relax slightly as he walked since Art already knew he was behind her. Though he'd been cautious to avoid leaves and twigs before hand, the ex-soldier stepped on them quite frivolously now. Smug smirk evident as he entered the clearing, Nathan slung his gun over his shoulder and patted his thigh to call Oakley over. Reluctantly, she turned away from Art and padded toward her owner.

“Then's there Nate, so silent and brave, always the hero to save the day. He's got a smile that lights up my world and a body so fine, I'd love to give it a whirl, making this chica swoon and sending her over the moon, our passion like a monsoon and all I wanna do is spoon.” Her words came out quickly with her Cuban accent becoming thicker by the second as she gave him a smile, resuming the flirting that they had started earlier that morning. She ended with a light bow, blowing kisses to an imaginary audience before giving a bashful laugh.

"Damn, girl." Nate laughed softly, winking back at her. "I didn't know you rapped," he remarked, making an expression of mock surprise only for Art to stick her tongue out at him. "What other talents have you been hiding from us?" He took the gun down from where it balanced on his shoulder in a cocky manner and held it in both hands, subconsciously caressing the barrel with his thumb. The young woman simply rolled her eyes and dusted her hands off, leaving her basket where it sat on the ground. She had already gotten all the grapes from the vine. Amusement and mischief twinkled in her eyes as she moved towards Nate until they stood hardly a foot apart, she having to look up due to her lack of numbers in the height department.

“I can't let you know all my secrets, papi. Then there would be no mystery to keep you coming back. And then what would be so special about me?”, she teased, pushing him lightly on the shoulder. Nate rolled his eyes and forced back a laugh as he nudged her with his elbow gently. “Anyways – Why are you following me?” Nate gave a shrug and looked back over his shoulder toward where he had come.

"Well, y'know, I needed somebody to clear the woods of zombies for me," he replied, shrugging. "It's hard to shoot something when the ranks of the undead are all pursuing it." He was being sarcastic, obviously, but he couldn't tell if Art realized he was following her to watch over her. She was probably capable of holding her own, but better safe that sorry. She merely rolled her eyes at him and pushed him on his shoulder again. “Where's Chump and Creeper? I thought you were hunting with them.”

"Do I get a creative nickname, too?" he inquired, eyebrow quirking subtly.

“I don't know. I figured I'd just call you babe.” She batted her eyelashes and bit her bottom lip in a suggestive manner as she leaned against him and looked up at him playfully. "Cute." He dramatically rolled his eyes, though he certainly wasn't upset about the nickname. "But yeah, those two are back at camp, probably, or coming this way. I took the lead."

“Oh...joy.”, she muttered under her breath. Quality time with the two smokers, should they be following.

"Jeez, don't get too excited," he teased. He wasn't overly enthusiastic either, but his only qualm with the Lieutenant was the fact that the younger soldier was a commissioned officer, whereas Nathan had merely enlisted. By rank, the Lieutenant was above him. However, he lacked any experience in the field. Jealousy could certainly be a bitch. He was proud of himself for talking back to the Second Lieutenant, but he was far too proud for his own good.

“Oh. Because you enjoy their company sooo much.” Art rolled her eyes as she let herself rest against Nate for a few more moments, looking around for Kela. Nate rolled his eyes briefly too. She was right, of course. Worry flashed across her face as she realized that she hadn't heard the hybrid dog for over ten minutes. She put her fingers between her lips and inhaled to let out a sharp whistle but was thrown off by the sound of helpless yelping that proceeded a gun shot. “Kela!” She immediately tore away from Nate and followed the sound, brandishing her knife as though she stood a chance with it against someone with a gun. She didn't care. He stood there for a moment, confused by the suddennes of it all. But, putting two and two together, Nate raced off after her with his gun raised and with Oakley nearby.

She just followed the sound of the yelping until she came across a man pointing a gun at Kela's head, ready to shoot her in the head. His leg was bleeding and there was a downed stag nearby. “Leave her alone!” She stooped over and picked up a rock, throwing it at the man and hitting him in the head. The man turned angrily towards her with his gun but his expression softened when he saw her and her own expression faltered. “Busty Bambi..? I mean..uh...Bambi?” He had lowered his gun now and Art's voice caught in her throat. Nate stopped a few paces behind Art and stopped, gun raised and aimed at the man's head. Oakley stopped and stood by their feet, ears back though she didn't snarl.

“You must have me confused for someone else.” She eventually found her voice, taking a step back and bumping into Nathan, though she still had her knife held outward and poised as though it were a gun despite the fact that the man – who had not confused her for someone else – had lowered his gun. “Oh, no. I'd recognize those legs and those tits and those eyes and that skin anywhere.” Did he have a checklist of things he remembered about people? Art groaned inwardly before sighing and giving up. Nate looked at Art with an expression of confusion. He didn't believe the man, for he had no idea Jackson was telling the truth in regards to Art. His grip tightened on the gun. “Why'd you shoot Kela, Jackson?” Her voice was angry now as she moved away from Nate and knelt down by Kela. Nate's expression changed from confusion to disbelief. He briefly glanced down at Art and then back at Jackson with the gun still raised. It was a close range shot and it had only grazed her, but she could tell it had still hurt the pup. She ripped off part of her own shirt and wrapped it tightly, tying it and using it as a makeshift bandage. Jackson gave his most apologetic look, though there was confusion in his eyes. “You've got a wolf?”

“She's only half wolf. She was hunting for me.”

“Oh. I didn't know... She took down the stag... But I haven't had any luck so I was just going to take it.” He looked away out of shame and Art still didn't meet his gaze as she helped her canine companion up, walking with her as she limped back towards Nate and Oakley. Now, Art was a hard person to push away. She's a people person. It's her thing. But it is highly possible for her to dislike people. And she didn't like Jackson. She didn't say anything though because he was the one with the gun in his hand. “You're traveling with your friend? And that's why she didn't like him, cringing as he asked the question. Nate flushed subtly as the man asked Art the question. Already, he disliked the man. Back when she worked at Olympus – a gentlemen's club – he was always there. Every night. And he always paid for her during her shift and nobody else. He bothered other girls, too. Only seven others and none of them had the same shift so there was no break from it all night. He was more handsy than the other customers, always offering them drinks and a ride home, asking them on dates, asking them to have sex in the bathroom. He creeped her out and she was quick to shoot him down. “Boyfriend.”, she lied smoothly. Nate's eyes widened almost comedically as he looked down to Art and then back at Jackson. That was certainly one way to get the creeper off of her back.

Jackson immediately looked disappointed but he gave a smile. “That's good. Well, I should get back to my group. Sorry for shooting your dog.” Intimidated by Nate, he immediately began to leave, not offering for them to join his group. Vying for the last word, Nate smirked as the man left. "Creep," he remarked, slowly lowering his gun by his hip. "Is Kela okay?" He continued to watch the man, occasionally glancing toward Art and her dog. “She'll be fine. I've just got to get her back to camp and get some bai ji to stop the bleeding.” The woman frowned as she knelt down to check Kela's leg once more, glad that the bleeding wasn't excessive enough to have made it through the acting bandage. Her arm was getting cold and sending a chill through the rest of her body, but she was fine as long as Kela was. She stood and sighed, as it seemed to be one of her new hobbies since the world had ended, wrapping her arms around Nate tightly. “Thanks for playing along... Jackson's a dick.... And please don't tell anyone about that.” Nate raised his gun in the air as Art quickly hugged him. Slowly, he wrapped a single arm around her and embraced her in return.

"Yeah, not a problem," he replied, looking down at her. "Your secret's safe with me." Internally, however, Nate was still recovering from the intial surprise. He hadn't expected Art to be a billionare businesswoman or anything like that, but he was still shocked by the revelation. Would she have told any of them? Probably not, just like Nate wouldn't mention his relationship issues before the apocalypse. But, besides the shock, he subconsciously couldn't help but feel...disappointment? He didn't want to admit it verbally or mentally, but he couldn't but feel ever so slightly upset at the fact that it was all a facade. He should have realized that, of course, she was using a fake relationship to get Jackson away. Still, he couldn't help but wish that perhaps it wasn't all a facade. Internally, he scoffed. Was he really going to start getting soft now during the apocalypse? No, he had to stay strong. Perhaps it was better that their "relationship" was made up.

“It wasn't a glamorous life. But I wasn't hooking or doing drugs. It paid the bills though. But that doesn't mean I'm any less of a good or respectable person than anyone else. Besides. I only worked ten days out of the month.” She gave a light frown, aware of the conversations that usually followed the revelation of her previous occupation. She valued the opinions of others in the group and she didn't want them thinking any less of her. She couldn't handle being a pariah. Nate simply nodded in response. He might have responsed, but then they heard another voice which the ex-Sergeant quickly recognized.

"This is Second Lieutenant William D. Andrews of the United States Army. Drop any weapons you may have and keep your hands where I can see them. I repeat, I am not alone, and we will open fire if you decide not to cooperate." Nate quickly looked toward the source of the sound as he slowly let go of Art. Keeping himself in front of her, he moved toward the younger man with his arms up slightly.

"Whoa, Lieutenant," he replied. "At ease. It's just me and Art. No zombies." Art moved behind Nate, keeping Kela close as she crinkled her nose at the sound of Will calling out. “Shut up, Will! You're not the boss of anybody anymore.” Art was in a foul mood - Between her dog being shot, Nate finding out about her previously being a stripper, and just seeing Jackson's face had ruined her happiness for a while. She'd have to cheer up before she got back though.

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His finger tightened on the trigger. "Would the person surrender? Would he resist? Does he have a fire-arm?" all of these thoughts ran through William's mind as he watched and listened. "Oh no..." he had overlooked one very important factor. "If I shoot, then it may attract zombies. And with Corren on such low ammunition..." William just stayed stock still, hoping that the stranger would cooperate.

"Whoa, Lieutenant, at ease. It's just me and Art. No zombies." William just stood there for a moment, un-moving.

"Wait...what? 'It's just me and Art...'" And as quickly as he had pondered the thought, the realization of the statement hit him. Not far from where William was standing, Corren relaxed as he allowed his magnum to rest against his side.

"“Shut up, Will! You're not the boss of anybody anymore.” William could feel his anger boil.

"Just because I don't have any troops under my command...does NOT mean that I no longer hold the authority of an officer in the United States Army 'ma'am.'" To make matters worse, he could hear the Corren's laughter to Art's response. William felt himself grip his rifle so hard that it began to tremble. He quickly lowered it before he called back to Nathan and Art.

"Please accept my apologie, I'm sure we're all a bit...paranoid with the events at hand." Quickly turning to take a look at Corren, he gave him a piercing stare to silence his laughter. Which was at this point, still all to audible. "So Durand," William said, approaching the two. "I'm sure that if there isn't anything that you must tell me, we may continue our 'hunt.'

Adjusting the position of his helmet, his mind traveled on it's own. "Art...she doesn't seem to like me too much. But then again, does anyone in our little 'group?' I must find a way to get back into contact with the army...no matter what the cost. The army is where my survival lies. If I get back with the Army, then I live."

"And by the way, Corren seems to have an insufficient amount of ammunition at the moment. Thought that you may want to know."

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The sigh of relief that escaped Nate's lips was quite obvious. His chest deflated as the situation calmed and the tension began to dissipate. As Corren's magnum lowered, Nathan lowered his hands and smiled quickly in the cocky way of his. He reached into his pocket casually and pulled out a pack of Trident spearmint gum. As the sergeant started to chew the stick of gum he popped into his mouth, he opened his mouth and planned to ease the situation with a typical, snarky remark. Art beat him to it, though her words didn't really ease the situation at all.
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"Shut up, Will! You're not the boss of anybody anymore." Nate shifted his position, making sure he was still in front of the young woman. He had no idea how Will would react, though he knew the young soldier had a temper that could easily match Nate's. As Corren laughed, Nate gave the man a quick, forced smile. He also certainly didn't want to upset either of the men with guns readily available. His Winchester hung on a back holster. The Desert Eagle occupied space in his backpack.

"Please accept my apology, I'm sure we're all a bit...paranoid with the events at hand." Nate smiled a bit more genuinely, though not too genuinely. He wasn't the most qualified liar. "So Durand, I'm sure that if there isn't anything that you must tell me, we may continue our 'hunt'."

"Accepted." Dwelling on the subject would not make anything better. As Will approached, he found himself slowly pulling the Winchester from its holster and holding it across his abdomen, ready. He glanced briefly back at Art, making sure she was still in place and not off reuniting with more clients. "Some creep shot Kela. It took some persuading, but the bastard ran back to his group." He gestured to the gun he held. Will certainly didn't need to know that Nate had stood there dumbfounded most of the time, unsure how to react to being called Art's boyfriend. "I'd suggest we trail him, but I don't know how large his group is." He looked to Art, turning his back on Will. "Do you want to come with us or head back to camp?" Whether or not she came with them, Nate nodded toward the woods before them and held his gun closer to his chest as he moved out, chewing his gum, Oakley on his heels.