Zombies overwhelm Fairbanks campus

Joshua Fessey / Sun Star

As the military chopper picked up and we began our escape, I couldn’t help but look back at the ruined remains of the campus.

A human moves inside the flag circle to rescue his fellow teammate who was trapped by a horde of zombies on Friday nigh. In the background, three zombies who had been shot wait around until they can tag humans again. Once most of the zombies were tagged out, the humans were able to rescue their teammate and complete the mission. - Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

A human moves inside the flag circle to rescue his fellow teammate who was trapped by a horde of zombies on Friday nigh. In the background, three zombies who had been shot wait around until they can tag humans again. Once most of the zombies were tagged out, the humans were able to rescue their teammate and complete the mission. – Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

There were only 15 survivors of the UAF outbreak, all huddled up in the limited space provided by the chopper. We were all somber and quiet, every one of us having lost friends in the disaster. It all started a week ago, as the two original zombies began to wreak havoc.

Nobody knows how they turned; whether it was a rabid animal, military testing gone wrong or some bad sushi from the Cache, but it started slow and it started quiet. People first began to notice changes about a day later and by then it was too late.

Only 14 people turned on the first day, but the epidemic grew quickly. By the end of the second day of the outbreak, the number of zombies had increased to 62. By day three, the number climbed to 90. Any hope of containment was destroyed.

Mother Nature wasn’t on our side either. Winter came early to Fairbanks. 12 inches of snow fell a few days after the initial outbreak, dropping power lines across the town and making roads nearly impassable. As the days drew on, hope for rescue faded.

Three humans stand guard outside the library doors while waiting for reinforcements. Two zombies stand in the background, waiting for an attention lapse so they can move in. - Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

Three humans stand guard outside the library doors while waiting for reinforcements. Two zombies stand in the background, waiting for an attention lapse so they can move in. – Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

We did our best to survive by sending rescue teams out into the cold and looking for technicians to help with the escape efforts.  All the while, our numbers were dwindling, and their numbers grew. At the end of the fourth day, there were 98 zombies, but only 118 of us remaining. Things were looking grim.

However, with the help of the technicians the repaired satellite dish allowed us to finally make contact with the military. This was made possible thanks to the valiant sacrifices by a few of our own: Gavin Lecrone, Austin Dabbs, Jeremy Sawyer and Ian Tremblay, who gave their lives protecting technicians as they repaired the damaged satellite dish. Finally, we knew there was a chance, albeit a small one, that we might make it out alive.

Then we suffered a great set back. An entire party, including an invaluable technician, was taken down by the zombie horde. What had been a starving pack was now reinvigorated, freshly fed and hungry for more. That night, huddled inside the MBS, we prayed that we would survive until the military could pull us out.

The next day, we decided to strike back. We ventured out onto the desolate campus, and began our work. With the help of our remaining technicians, we repaired and armed the local missle silo, and converted a poker flat range rocket into a missile-carrying rocket, which was able to destroy a majority of the zombie population in Fairbanks. The only remaining zombies in Fairbanks were located on campus. Now there were only 88 zombies left.

Some zombies began to change, transforming into stronger, more dangerous beasts. There were witches, which were immune to our bullets, and lickers, who were able to take down humans from longer distances. Survival was more difficult, but what got us through was the knowledge that the military would be there the next day to extract the remaining survivors. To prepare we spent the night planting beacons to aid the military extraction team.

Then the moment of truth was here. The remaining humans gathered in the arts center to prepare for the extraction. There were just under a hundred of us remaining, and about the same number of zombies. The path to safety would not be an easy one. We waited for the signal from the military and when it came we rushed out the doors towards the extraction site. Most of us didn’t make it. Only 15 survivors were extracted by the military.

One human stands guard outside the library doors while four others hide inside and plan on how to resuce their fellow trapped human during Friday night's mission. - Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

One human stands guard outside the library doors while four others hide inside and plan on how to resuce their fellow trapped human during Friday night’s mission. – Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

The chopper ride was quiet. Most of our friends had been turned and were currently wandering campus aimlessly, looking for something to eat. It was a sobering thought, but I couldn’t help but be filled with relief. It was over. It was finally over. And yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the same thing would happen next year.

Humans v. Zombies is an augmented reality game organized by the Zombies! at UAF club.  Participants role play as if a zombie apocalypse has begun, wearing an orange bandana on their arm to indicate that they are a “human.”  If a human is tagged, by way of a light touch on the body, by a zombie, who is marked as such by an orange bandana worn on the head, they become a zombie.

Humans v. Zombies is played internationally, although each iteration features unique gameplay.  UAF’s rendition this year included an in-game currency that players could earn by going on moderator-organized missions throughout the week-long gameplay.  The currency could then be exchanged for advantages, such as single-use immunity against zombie tags and cures to revert zombified players to humanity.  Zombies! and UAF also integrates several types of zombies, each with specific advantages and weaknesses.

Moderators emphasize that the intention of the game is not necessarily to remain human the entire time, but rather to get excited, make friends, and participate with enthusiasm.  No one wins in a zombie apocalypse; people only turn or survive.

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