In possession of a good-sized truck (though considerably smaller than 33,000 lbs), and planning to head back into the unknown of the zombie apocalypse, the party decided to investigate a local railyard to see about fortifying and enhancing the truck. With the aid of cantankerous retired machinist Micky Rhodes, they found a number of tools and scrap metal with which to create a vehicle worthy of the Road Warrior. Souped up with body armor, wheel defenses, window guards, a ram plate and no shortage of spikes, the once-humble, and now considerably less maneuverable truck was dubbed Murder Train. Our heroes were ready to set out exploring the ravaged countryside for answers.
So armored, and possibly blasting a intimidating death metal soundtrack, the party drove the few miles along Filmore Avenue to the north side of Aragon, to investigate the Indiana Institute of Technology (affectionately called “iit”) for clues and possibly anyone with insight into the zombie plague. Approaching the iit campus, they found the remnants of a National Guard Stand off, with broken barricades littering the roadway. Further in, a new group of survivors had fortified the central classroom building, and sentries could be seen patrolling its borders. Natalie guided the Murder Train up to their gate and the party exchanged words with a man named Carl who stood at a guard post. Though Carl offered to bring the Train inside the compound, the party found him suspicious and opted to leave it outside, but stepped through the gate themselves to talk things over.
The questions were exchanged, and Carl revealed that he and his wife, Melissa, had joined this group about a month ago with a few other neighbors who had been run out of their homes. He had had to kill one or two people who threatened them, and reported dropping “maybe thirty” of the walking dead in his tenure as gate guard. As to the question of possible lab equipment or hopes of someone with answers, Carl explained that there had been a man called Dr. Marcus living with them, who was looking into the plague. Though he’d indicated initially hopeful results, he soon became obsessed with his investigation and when one too many of their number fell trying to guard him in his daily excursions across campus to the morgue facility, he was left to his own devices. No one had seen him for at least a week.
The party exited the gated compound and drove the Murder Train across the expansive parking lot to iit’s Mortuary Science Instructional Facility (also the Teller County morgue). Carefully sidestepping a group of zombies pestering a cat trapped in a car by the building’s main entrance, they investigated alternative means of gaining access. When a heavy maintenance door proved impervious to light kicks, Bluedog Magog bashed into a conference room window with Vera the Axe. The noise brought the curious dead, three of which were easily enough dispatched with a few bullets, arrows, axe swings and knife jabs. As Natalie, Ray, and Moonmage searched the interior of the building, Felix remained outside to guard the Murder Train from threats, dead or living.
Inside, the search team found a number of offices strewn with papers and minimal salvageable goods, but scored a nice cache of ammo from a ballistics lab. With some persuasion, Ray and Bluedog managed to push in a pair of double doors and dispatch a zombie inside – a zombie which would prove to have been the abandoned Dr. Marcus. They also found a grisly scene in the locked room – the morgue facility itself, complete with the source of Bluedog’s most unsettling moniker yet, Morgue Drawers – it’s exam tables strewn with corpses and body parts all showing signs of decreasingly scientific dissection. It was apparent the expired Dr. Marcus had been living here alone for some time. Among a stack of scribbled notes and equipment, Ray came across an account of the professor’s findings. According to Marcus, the plague-infected could be treated with antibiotics and antivirals alike, though naturally derived medication proved less effective, and he could find no sign of any microorganism that might be the cause. He became convinced that only the bite of the dead could spread the disease, not any other content, no matter how gruesome. In a final desperate act, Marcus had allowed himself to be bitten, in hopes of documenting his own death and turn. He then wrote of knowing “where the creatures are going, what they want” and hearing “the master’s voice.” On the final, blood-stained page, he had scrawled “he calls us to him…to serve…my army”.
Leaving this unpleasant scene, the party returned to the main campus building to inform Carl of what they had found – abridging their findings only to the fact of Dr. Marcus’s demise. They then climbed aboard the Murder Train once more and returned into town and the relative safety of the Post Office.