Work Header

a city held hostage

Work Text:

"Good morning, Malton, and I hope all of you found somewhere safe to bunk down, because last night was awfully busy and this week is shaping up to be..."

Standing in the streets and looking up—which was a stupid thing to do if you were alone, because then you weren't watching for zeds or bounty hunters or the more opportunistic type of scavenger, but hypothetically speaking, if you did—you'd see a great network of rope bridges and narrow planks strung from building to building. It was like a family of giant spiders had overtaken Malton, spinning a net wide enough to hold the city hostage.

The bridges were unstable enough to discourage the undead, and weren't all that safe for the living if it came to that, but if you were limber and knew what you were doing, it meant you could get to almost anywhere in the city without having to touch the earth.

"...responsible for putting out the fires and giving aid to the injured. If you're ever in the area and find yourself in need of help, you can trust these..."

The quarantine had been going on for over five years. Most people had figured it was never going to be lifted. PM still had hope, but it was a small flickering hope now, eclipsed in favour of keeping the barricades up and the generators running. Electric lights were risky, the glow at night made you a target (light of democracy or not), but they needed the power.

And they were just better rested the next day, knowing that if they woke up at night and heard something scrabbling in the dark, they could just flick a switch instead of fumbling for matches and sweating. AR and WV swore that they had perfectly good night vision, but neither had ever suggested doing away with the lights.

She hopped over a gap between two roofs, which was narrow enough that no one had bothered to lay down a bridge. In her rucksack, the little radio spat bursts of static and wavered in and out of range, but the broadcaster talked on.

"...accounts, the MOB is moving northeast. If you've tuned in before, you know the protocol: Stay in groups, evacuate if you can, and don't get caught on your own. They'll try and hit one big concentration of people before moving on, but they'll still..."

It was weird, once they'd understood that dying was ghastly, painful, and deeply traumatic, but not permanent anymore. Somewhere, somehow, parts of the old labs from the Veil had landed in this world, and they had salvaged the technology to create... not a cure, but a way to bring people back right. For a while, anyway. If they hadn't been undead too long, or died too many times.

And now every survivor kept revivification syringes on their person, just in case, and everyone bore needle marks on their bodies. And life, as it was, went on.

She kept an eye out for helicopters. Helicopters meant supply crates, which could be broken down and distributed to safehouses across the city. And if she was fast, that meant fewer supplies ended up with the likes of the Crew. The Midnight Crew provided goods and protection, true (nobody was as good in a siege as Mr. Boxcars, even if you were more scared of him than the zeds), but then you owed them, and then one day Mr. Slick would sidle up and say, here, now that everyone was such good friends and all, maybe you could do the Crew a favour, no strings attached, of course, but what was good for the Crew was good for you too, and it went on until you found yourself in a hole you'd never get out of.

In the old days, PM hadn't had much to do with them, the occasional parcel nonwithstanding because the postal service was for everyone, not just for people the postal service liked, but now she stayed out of their way. Manipulating people with things like first aid kits and food was wrong.

" for today. Tune in again at nine o'clock, but until then, Malton, take care. Stay safe, stay lucky."