Geek guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse: Part I
|January 27, 2011||Posted by Angry Nerd under zombies|
On the geek front, things have been quiet the last few weeks. This is partly because I’m switching jobs, thus interviewing is taking up more time than normal, but it’s also because I’ve been preparing the next big series of articles for geeky.nu.
In addition to being a certified geek, I’m a zombie apocalypse survivor. Through the years, I’ve survived 14 zombie apocalypses and one plague of gophers. This may not sound impressive, but those gophers are MEAN! Especially after they’ve been zombiefied! At any rate, I’ve come to realize that most of my geek brethren are not well suited for surviving a zombie apocalypse; zombies are notoriously hard to impress with your collection of epics from World of Warcraft, always try to move when it isn’t their turn in Warhammer, and keep thinking the captain in Star Trek is a jedi! Clearly normal geek customs will serve you poorly in the times of zombie apocalypses. And I can’t imagine being a survivor in a world without geeks – there would be nothing to write about!
So, I’ve decided to do the only thing I CAN do to help geeks survive in the cold, brain-munching times of the zombie apocalypse. Over the next few weeks, I will explain the basics of zombieology (is that even a word?), covering some different tactics for survival, various ways to combat zombies, different theories behind zombieism, and other things you may find useful.
I’m going to start you off lightly over the next couple of days with some basic terminology. It’s important to understand what kind of zombies you’re up against, and the stage of the zombie invasion. Today, we’ll cover the 5 basic types of zombies, from least to most dangerous:
Type E zombie: “crawler”
This is a zombie that has decayed to the point where it is no longer bipedal. It may have from 1 to 3 working limbs (get your minds out of the gutter, you pervs), of which only one is a functional leg. Zombies of this type represent the least dangerous type as they cannot effectively swarm a survivor, thus robbing the zombies of their most dangerous tactic.
Zombies like this are still dangerous to the unattentive, however. They can still spread the infection, and thus they should not be ignored. More than one survivor have taken out a mob of zombies, only to be bitten by the crawler he forgot about.
Type D zombie: “rotter”
Rotters are zombies who are suffering from advancing decay. They are still bipedal, but large segments of their body and musculature have been destroyed. Some strains of the zombie virus seem to create rotters by default, while others are shamblers (see below) who have been unable to feed for a long time.
Rotters are the slowest and clumsiest of the bipedal zombies. They have only the most basic motor control, lack balance, and tend to trip and lurch a lot. They display no coordination and no desires beyond the drive to feed, and rotters tend to fall dormant without external stimulation. Also, because of their advanced state of decay, rotters are very vulnerable to blunt trauma: a blow that might only stagger a shamble may sever a limb from a rotter. However, they can still be dangerously strong and aggressive when given the opportunity to feed.
Type C zombie: “shambler”
The shambler is the stereotypical zombies. They move relatively slowly, are dimly aware of their surroundings, but care for little except the opportunity to feed. They tend to wander areas that were important to them in life; historically this meant that zombies would roam churches and graveyards, but in modern times you can expect to find them around shoping malls and pubs.
Shamblers seem to be slightly social creatures, preferring to move in groups. They will react to movement and sound, and thus, fighting one shambler tend to attract others. This is what makes shamblers so dangerous. Also, because their bodies are relatively intact, disabling a shambler can be hard. WARNING: shamblers seem to be able to retain some slight awareness of concepts such as doors and windows, meaning that they may potentially understand that there are doorways to places where potential food is. This can lead to shamblers breaking down barricades and doors in order to reach survivors. If there are shamblers around your hideout, they should be monitored at all times!
Type B zombie: “ghoul”
Ghouls are zombies who have retained some VERY basic human memories, and are in the very early stages of decomposition. Ghouls tend to move very much like a stiff, injured human does, and do not generally have the characteristic zombie lurch. They may retain the ability to work door handles, make simple plans, and even disguise themselves as injured survivors for a very brief time. Some have been witnessed using tools and even weapons. While some ghouls may retain memories of people they knew in life, they are as likely to single them out for attack as they are to spare them. Remember that while the zombie of your girlfriend may smile at you like she did in life, she’s planning to eat you in a completely different way now!
There is no strain of the zombie virus that consequently creates ghouls. The most common reason for “ghouling” is when a otherwise healthy person is infected by the virus, and dies as a result. Only physically intact people seem to be able to rise as ghouls instead of shamblers.
Ghoul seems to be a transitory state for most zombies, and they retain their limited memories for days or hours. One theory is that ghouls only remain ghouls as long as they are able to feed regularly; this may explain why zombies are constantly seeking out the flesh of the living. Being unable to feed destroys what memories and mental abilities they retain. This remains an untested theory, however.
Type A zombie: “runner”
Quite simply, these are zombies that move like humans. They can run. They can climb. They can maneuver effectively to bypass obstacles. But they still feel no pain, care for nothing but feeding, and can only be killed by destroying the brain. Afraid? You should be!
Runners are sometimes known as super-zombies. While they may not retain the memories like ghouls, they do seem to be able to work as a group, using encircling tactics and even laying traps. Runners are the boogeymen among a race that’s ALL boogey, and you better hope you’re well armed and have friends if you come across them. It has been theorized that runners are in fact a completely different breed of creatures, with little in common with zombies.
Some strains of the zombie virus seems to affect animals. While animals never degenerate into full zombies, most animals so affected go berserk, They’re rabid, violent and usually don’t feel pain. Some may spread the infection, and all will try to eat you.