“Looks like the Drive-thru’s in full effect,” Jimbo mutters, taking a hearty swig of hooch. The three Mericans lounge on the open back of a stopped caravan.
“Yup,” Dale says, doing the same.
“Uh-huh,” Bob echoes before taking a drink. “Think they’ll survive?”
“Only if they figure out the secret weakness,” Dale replies. “Those augmented zed are only vulnerable to the strongest hooch you can find. Makes ‘em blow up like a screamer.”
Jimbo finishes his hooch and reaches into the cooler for another. “Well, they won’t get any from us,” he says. “We’re gonna drink it all.”
“Uh-huh,” Bob adds. “Them Hellions are on their own.”
“525,600 zombies! 525,000 shots to the head! 525,600 zombies! How do you put down, put down a zed?”
“Please, no. I’m begging you, stop!”
“In sword strikes? In bullets? In head shots? In double-tapped killings? In bodies, in corpses, in dead friends, in tears?”
“You are NOT singing that for the King’s Court show, I swear to Moses!”
“In 525,600 zombies! How do you measure a year in the wastes?”
“Okay, fine. I have to admit, that wasn’t totally terrible.”
“Hey, those symbiotes going around…”
“Yeah? What about them?”
“Well, I was sick, and I got one, and I’m still sick, but it doesn’t seem to be getting worse. Have they always done that?”
“I dunno. Maybe they’re evolving with our Infection? That sounds like some strange Mad Scientist bullshit to me.”
“True, but I wonder if it works on all diseases. It could be a cheap, permanent alternative to needing Edge Runner, right? And we’re always running low on that.”
“I mean, I guess. If you’re right. But if you’re not, that’s one hell of a fucking gamble to lose, woman.”
“Yeah, but these grenades are fucking sick as hell.”
“Did you hear how many herder raiders there are this year at the Drive-thru?” Watson asks.
“If you’re gonna say 330 again--” Billy starts.
“It’s 330!” Watson interrupts. “That’s, like, 10 Final Knights worth. I’m pretty sure the herders are working with Pestilence this year!”
“Okay, look, you little slack-jaw,” Billy retorts. “Herder raiders don’t work with anybody ‘cept other Herder raiders.”
“Well, then how did Pestilence get those zed all augmented, anyway?” Watson shoots back. “Ask them real nicely?”
“Uh…” Billy replies. There’s a long moment of silence. And then, “Fuck you, that’s how!”
“Did you see that?”
The DJ looked over at his companion. “See what?’ he replied.
“I thought I saw a HUGE man in a tiny ride zoom past us.”
The DJ raised his eyebrows. “Really, Zip, why should I care?”
“Well,” Zip continued “He was wearing a red hat and was throwing some sort of yellow food out of his vehicle. He didn’t look like on of those FK troops, though.”
The DJ pressed down harder on the gas pedal, and veered his ride off course. “That sounds too odd for my taste. It sure fits in with all that Hellion nonsense. I hope they’re the ones that have to deal with that, because we’re fucking gone.”
“I’m so glad the Drive Thru is here!”, the Remnant said, humming to himself and working on weeding a new garden in Low Town.
“Why on earth would you say such a thing? It’s a calamity, people are dying everywhere, and we are all gunna git driven out by them Herder Raiders”, said the crotchety old man, rocking back and forth on a chair.
“C’mon Cid, don’t you remember what it’s like coming back? How great things are? How the great El Dorado looks?”, chided the Remnant.
“What fool talk are you making, you young whippersnapper?”, the old man retorted.
“The reset. Each time the Drive Thru cleans out the town, it’s reset. it’s how the Herder Raiders have evolved alongside the occupants of the town for so many years”, the Remnant explained.
“Poppycock! Balderdash I say!”, the old man grunted.
“Oh Cid, you know it’s true. The founders, the people that have called El Dorado home for centuries, they come back - and fix the town. They paint, they repair. The Herder Raiders know that in order for the town to continue to provide what they need to survive, that they need to make it someplace worth coming back to. So they gather up the Repeaters, and bring them back. Don’t you remember seeing Bob the Builder last year near the end?”
The old man remains silent, smoking his pipe furiously, tears dripping into his shaggy beard.