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The Fall of Humanity

Moving Forward

When all was said and done it had turned out that their little group of survivors had been reduced from 35 to 16. Among the the dead after the walker ambush were Merle Dixon, Daryl’s older brother, and Ed Peletier, Carol’s husband and Sophia’s father. Along with 15 others. The day after the ambush Morales and his wife, Miranda, decided to take their chances on the road and drove off with their two children to try and find some of their relatives in Birmingham.

Which meant that the surviving and remaining members of the group were the Harrison sisters, the Grimes family, Dale, Glenn, T-Dog, Jacqui, Daryl, Shane, Jim, Rime, Buffy, and the two remaining Peletier's. On one hand it was terrible that the camp had been reduced to less than half of its original number, but on the hand a dozen plus was a much more manageable number than close to forty people. Especially when they had no safe place to stay, walkers were roaming everywhere, and food and water was becoming scarce. On top of that they needed to start thinking about preparations for the winter.

Over half of their group had ended up dead because there had been no real leader and no one besides Buffy had even tried to teach anyone self-defense or do more than give anyone a quick ‘this is how you kill the walkers if you’re attacked’, and then with the Morales family leaving their little community were floundering. This was when Buffy decided to step up and take over leadership before someone else got the same idea.

Shane was too unstable to lead anyone, including himself, as his obsession with Lori, and to a much lesser degree Carl, grew and he increasingly let his responsibilities to the group slip by the wayside. She would give him points for setting up the camp, although he should’ve done a lot more to keep it safe for everyone. Rick wasn’t ruthless enough to be at the top of the food chain at this point, even if Buffy suspected he had the potential once he’d gotten his face rubbed into the facts of their new day-to-day lives a little more, but so far he seemed unwilling to make the harsh decisions that needed to be made in order for them to get by.

And for all of Andrea’s opinions on anything going on she didn’t have the knowledge, personality, or support to be in charge of them. Too many found her to be bitchy, whiny, and generally annoying. Nor did she actually want to lead them, which was a blessing, but she did want to be a part of the leadership. Daryl might’ve been a contender for the title if he’d been interested in the position, but from what Buffy had seen of the man he’d rather stay on the outskirts and hunt by himself. He was also still affected by the recent loss of his brother, but his head was firmly in the present. He was ever observant of his surroundings and she respected that.

Still, Buffy had learned from her mistakes in Sunnydale and she had also learned from some lesser mistakes, both her own and others, afterwards while the Scoobies and the newly-Called Slayers were trying to rebuild the ICW and make it into something a lot more Slayer and Potential-friendly, so she made her own little ‘council’ consisting of the ones who had actual survival skills; meaning herself, Rime, Daryl, Rick, and Andrea. Buffy was a natural leader and an incredibly strong fighter and tactician; Rime had over a millennium’s worth of healing and medical skills, although the group believed her to be a young looking newly graduated doctor with a strong interest in how medicine worked before modern times, not to mention that she knew how to live without the benefit of electricity; Daryl could track and hunt, he was also a capable fighter with extensive experience with a crossbow; Andrea, and to a lesser degree Amy, knew how to fish; and Rick was just a leader type. It gave her a place to start and if they could work together they would have a fighting chance to survive in this new world.

Shane would no doubt kick up a fuss, and there were probably those who were happy with his leadership and would side with him, but he was too reckless, too distracted to be of any real use. It was a pity since as a law enforcement officer he probably had useful skills.

It wouldn’t be easy to lead them this way, all five of them had strong personalities, but compromises were a way of life no matter how you looked at it, and the last year in Sunnydale had taught her the importance of delegation and good communication. Both aspects had been reinforced repeatedly after she had met and begun travelling with Rime as she had developed a habit of wanting to take full control of everything in a knee-jerk reaction she still sometimes fell back on. Thankfully Rime was there to remind her that she didn’t have to do everything herself, and she was much more diplomatic about it than the Scoobies had been. Something which was most likely a side effect of having been around for so long. Rime was normally a gentle soul, but she had a backbone of pure steel, and the gods may have mercy on anyone who wronged her.

Although if she was completely honest with herself, and she tried to be, then she only allowed Andrea on board so she wouldn’t put up a stink for being left out. The woman had some serious inferiority issues and an odd need to prove herself as one of the ‘boys’ despite being in her mid-thirties and having had a successful career in a male dominated field. Or maybe that’s where the insecurity came from. Who knew. Rick was only a member because she suspected it would split the group if she didn’t allow it. Lori would take her husband’s side and who knew who else might side with them. The last thing they needed were for someone else to split and go off on their own. There was strength in numbers, especially given the increasingly large herds who were making their way out of the big cities.

She was pretty certain that Glenn, Andrea, Amy, T-Dog, and Daryl would side with her when it came to who should lead the group, and she also believed that they would side with her regarding the decision to make sure everyone learned at the very least the basic skills needed to survive in this new world. Dale could go either way because of his pacifistic views, but Carol seemed likely to follow Daryl. Which gave Buffy seven votes, including Rime. Assuming Andrea wouldn’t try for the leadership, in which case she’d lose at least two votes.

The changes she intended to enforce would not go over well, at least not all of them, but they were necessary for their continued survival. Everyone, including the two children, needed to learn how to effectively use melee weaponry, especially swords, knives, and crossbows as there were a finite number of bullets left in the world and the same with the actual guns. Bolts and arrows on the other hand could be made with a little trial and error, as could blades.

Everyone needed to learn how to hunt, fish, set traps, and any other way to gather food which could no longer be gained by walking into a grocery store. In other words a step-by-step tutorial on how to prepare the food for consumption, including field dressing their kill. They needed to be taught that all water which did not come from a sealed bottle needed to be boiled before they could drink it or use it in food preparation so any and all bacteria would be killed. Learning basic first aid was also high on the list, after all it didn’t matter how much medication and other medical equipment they found if no one knew how to apply it or when. They also needed to be given a crash course in which part of the nature around them were edible and which were poisonous/venomous, and also what could be used as medicine when the pre-made stuff ran out. The latter part would be up to Rime and probably with the assistance of Daryl.

Buffy needed to take it slowly though, if she tried to force the issue many of them would guaranteed balk and that would make things worse. So she’d begun with hand-to-hand combat and sword practise, mainly with Andrea and Amy but Daryl had been paying attention as well, even if he didn’t participate. It had paid off for the two blonde sisters as it had literally given them an edge during the walker attack on the Quarry Camp, but now she needed to step it up and get the others involved.

Meanwhile Rime had been working with Carol and Jacqui on the medical side of things, and she was making progress. As the wife of an abusive man Carol had practise with patching herself up after Ed’s violent episodes, and as such knew more about first aid than Jacqui. As terrible as the reason behind the knowledge was it would come in useful as the world descended even more into chaos, and things became more critical. Medical know-how would soon be worth more than gold had been worth Before.

*****

When they left the Quarry Camp they had driven off in five vehicles: Buffy’s Jeep, which she drove and with Rime and Jacqui as passengers; Rick drove the station wagon with Lori and Carl as the passengers; Dale drove his RV with Glenn in the passenger seat, Jim was bundled up in the back with Andrea and Amy as his caretakers; Shane drove a Jeep with T-Dog beside him and Carol and her daughter in the backseat; and Daryl drove his brother’s motorcycle.

On the 63rd day after the outbreak they arrived at the CDC hoping there would be someone there who had answers, particularly as Jim had succumbed to the virus on the way there. They needed a cure. A vaccine. A plan. A backup solution. Something . However they had been disappointed; the only person left in the entire building had been a Dr. Jenner who was rather unhelpful in that regard. He did however allow them to eat, shower, and stay for the night in real beds. All of which had been greeted with great enthusiasm; none of them had had a shower in longer than any of them wanted to think about, let alone remember.

In truth Buffy appreciated the shower more than she appreciated the food and even the burning hot coffee. She hated to feel unclean, especially when the uncleanliness was a result of blood, gore, and/or (vampire) dust. Given the sudden appearance of a new kind of walking dead and she’d had two months worth of layers upon layers of both blood and gore, even if she was blissfully free of vampire dust. It was a notion shared by pretty much everyone.

According to Dr. Jenner there was no cure, he was the only surviving scientist left at the CDC as the others had either fled or opted out, and he had lost contact with the outside world nearly a month before they arrived. As of the last transmission he had received there were no scientific breakthroughs regarding the walkers, or how to avoid ending up as one of them once dead. He gave them a technical explanation of how the virus worked once a person was already dying, but he couldn’t help them. In the end they’d had to break themselves out of the building as it had gone into lockdown in preparation for an inbuilt self-destruction program to prevent the spread of whatever they had been studying inside the heavily fortified laboratories.

Closed and heavily armed doors, even the enhanced ones secure buildings like the CDC had, was no match for a Slayer - especially a determined one. Even amid the panic the countdown had caused it caused a lot of staring when she simply hit the reinforced window a couple of times with a closed fist before it shattered into a thousand pieces.

There hadn’t been time for the group to contemplate the contradiction of a woman Buffy’s size being able to break through bulletproof glass, instead they had focused on running out of the fortified building and as far away as they could get before it blew. For once the walkers had not been a priority, although thankfully there hadn’t been any in the vicinity, and they had made it over to the cars so they had some cover from the explosion.

This time they managed to get away from the disaster with only one voluntary loss, as Jacqui chose to stay behind with Dr. Edwin Jenner as the Center for Disease Control was destroyed for safety reasons as decided pre-apocalypse by whoever had been in charge of deciding such things. It meant that in the last few days they had lost another two people and their little group were now down to 14.

The day after a decision was made to reduce the number of vehicles as there was too little fuel already and they didn’t need that many cars anyways. After some back and forth it was decided to keep the RV until they could find another one in better condition to switch it out with. Dale would drive it, and Glenn, Andrea, Amy, and Shane would ride with him. T-Dog would join the Grimes family in the Station Wagon, while Carol and Sophia would join Buffy and Rime in the Jeep. Daryl would ride ahead on the motorbike, something Buffy was little jealous of as she missed her own bike. Unfortunately it had been totaled the year before in a surreal car chase to catch up with a demon in a fancy sports car. It had ended in a fiery crash which only Buffy had gotten away from alive, even if her unconscious body had had to be carried away from the scene.

They drove a safe distance away from the burning building so as to avoid the herds of walkers who had no doubt been attracted by the loud explosions and were ambling their way there. Once their sparse belongings had been moved and repacked into the correct cars they had taken a vote and then just began driving in the direction which most people wanted to go.

Notes

This chapter takes place during the Walking Dead episode "TS-19" (01x06).

This is the expanded version of the 'Watch the Fall of Humanity' chapter 11 (Aftermath).

Thank you to all those who have left kudos, reviews, and/or followed this story.

Comments

@JetCmoon

Thank you for the review! :)

Thank you for the review! :)

Excellent update!! Can't wait for more!!

JetCmoon JetCmoon
1/8/17