Respawn. It's dark, but the Moon is up. I consider the ethicality of adjusting my video settings to allow me to see in the dark. Then I think about how this game has beaten me up, taken my stuff, and kicked me around. Bag ethics, let's turn up the video settings.
I can see things around me in a sort of black and white. I'm on the edge of a city again, who knows where.
I put my battery in my flashlight.
I walk into the first building that I encounter with the doors still closed. Finding one has taken about 20 minutes, during which time my character has started to complain about thirst and hunger. Inside it's dark. I turn on my flashlight. It keeps lighting the area off to one side of me. Then I remember to raise it up. Because, like, it's important that the game makes you do that.
I find a rotten kiwi fruit in the pantry.
I pick it up.
No, I'm not going to eat the thing. It'll just sicken my character, make them go unconscious, then we respawn again. Because that's part of the wonder of DayZ. A million options to make your character sicker, weaker, and deader. But if you want to get better, stronger, and live you need to have a half a hundred things go your way without anything bad happening in the meanwhile.
So I picked up the kiwi. Carefully. Because I really, really don't want to eat it. At least they don't make your character wolf down bad food when they're hungry automatically.
I check my inventory. There's a kiwi in my pocket. Hurray, my pants aren't buggy! I carefully, carefully, extract the kiwi from my pocket then drop it. This was just a test.
Next test. I pull off my t-shirt. Good, it works. OK, my clothes aren't bugged. Now I can get down to business.
In the side room I find a hoodie. Now we're getting somewhere, I've got more pockets.
I go out to the barn. There's a motorcycle helmet and a black pen in there. I don the helmet, and take the pen even though I have no idea what it's good for. I've got to find some food!
I run out of town, into a gully. Sure enough, there's a pond at the bottom. I drink, and drink, and drink, and drink, and drink, and drink...jeez, how long is this going to take? Long story short, I drink until my stomach feels stuffed.
The computer says, "Your stomach feels stuffed. Your stomach grumbles violently."
I run back to town. I've got to find some food.
I run up to a closed door. Just like a million times before, I open it only to have it push me backward off the porch. I sigh, then run in.
It's dark. I switch on my flashlight and sweep the area. Something?
It's a red pen. Oh, good. I am now prepared to do accountancy, I have a black pen and a red one. But no ledger. I'll bet those are in the warehouse...ugh.
The pens are new. I can only wonder how much less food I'll find now that there are different colors of pens spawning in the game.
I move to the kitchen. Nothing. Well, there appear to be matryoshka dolls in the cupboard, but they're just window dressing. Right now I'd be willing to see if they're edible.
Next building. Aha! A can of tuna. And me without my can opener. sigh
Next building, empty. Next, also empty. What the hey? I know these buildings, I got plenty of stuff out of them before. Is some joker looting them then closing the doors behind them. Or are the spawns not working? Aaargh!
I'm on the edge of starvation.
"Boomer, where you at?" I ask over our group's ongoing Skype call. I see him on in the player list.
"Uh, I'm next to some apartment complex."
"Can you see a big construction crane?" I'm trying to find a landmark, hoping he's nearby.
"Yeah, I mean, I can't see it now, but I saw it a while ago."
"Got any food?"
"Yeah. I've got a box of cereal, a can of sardines, and some beans that are almost gone."
"Sweet. I'm starving here. Think we can meet up?"
"OK, I'm good with that. You don't have any spray cans, do you?"
"No! No more spray cans."
"Good, because if you did I'd tell you to go off somewhere and die."
"Let's try to meet by the crane."
"No way. There are a bunch of guys over there. They killed me three times. Once they got me right as I spawned. Axe in the back."
"OK, make for the woods to the west? Follow the power lines till we meet? Put the crane due east of us?"
"Yeah. On my way."
I head out of town. I'm lucky enough to come across a well near a junkyard on the way. I stop and fill up again. Drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, ad infinitum. I finally just quit before it tells me I'm full, I don't want to put off meeting up with Boomer for too long.
I reach the power lines, then turn south, to put the crane right south of Casseiopeia. Watch the path, not the sky. Oh, and turn out the stinking flashlight so that it doesn't give me away to bandits.
I get to where I think I should be.
"Boomer, how you doing?"
"I think I'm there."
"I think I am, too. We should be close. I'll blink my flashlight to the south, so look north."
I blink my flashlight.
"Look south, I'll try blinking to the north."
"Nope," says Boomer.
"Can you blink your flashlight?"
"No, it's broken."
"Yeah, tell me about it. I've been blind this whole time. I walk into buildings, then try to see if anything's nearby in my inventory."
"Hey," says Eraser, "I'm on now. I've got lots of food, but I won't get to you guys in time to save Goose. Goose should just lay down, so he doesn't starve. Then Boomer, you just go to him."
"Yeah, but I don't know where he is," says Boomer. "I've got no clue which direction to go, and I don't want to run up and down looking."
"I'll go back to where the power lines cross the road," I say. "Then I'll lay down in the grass right under the power pole. How does that sound?"
"OK. I think that's north of me. Here I come."
A while later I say, "How are you doing, Boomer?"
"I don't see you. I've been all around the road, checking out the electric towers."
"I'm right next to one. Wait, what kind of towers?"
"The big metal ones. You know."
"Mine look like letter 'T'."
"No, the other kind. The big ones."
"We're each following the wrong line. I see the high tension lines off in the distance. What road are you on?"
"The one that goes west out of town, I think."
"That's what I thought, too. I'm coming to the high tension lines."
I get up and go. Immediately I start getting messages about how I'm starving. Great, I'm going to find my buddy then die right in front of him.
I get to the high tension lines, then look for a road.
"The lines cross roads in both directions," I say.
"Just run toward the coast. We can meet on the beach."
"I don't think I'll make it that far." The starvation messages were getting more and more insistent. I might not make it ten more feet, I thought to myself. But I kept going.
"I see you!" he said.
I saw a shape in the darkness coming toward me.
"You're a chick," I said.
"Yeah, something went funny when I respawned. I don't care any more. Here's the cereal."
He dropped the cereal box. It disappeared.
We waited. The computer told me I was starving to death.
"I don't see it," I said. I moved around a little, just in case.
"Here's the rest of my sardines. I ate everything else on the way here."
He set down the sardines. They disappeared.
"I've got a can of tuna," I said. "You can open it, right?"
"Yeah, but don't give it to me here. I think we're losing stuff on this dirt. Let's go over to the road."
We relocated to the road a hundred feet away or so.
"Eraser, is there any way for him to give me the can directly?"
"Uhhh, I don't think so. You have to drop it."
I dropped it and held my breath.
"I've got it!"
"Good, my vision is going, I think."
"I don't want to take a chance of losing this. Can I force feed you?"
"I don't know. I think I'm about to pass out."
"Yes! Here you go."
I got the message that Boomer was force feeding me some tuna. Then I got it again. Then again.
"The hunger marker is back to amber now," I said.
"I'll give you the rest," said Boomer.
I got one more force feeding message.
"It's yellow now."
"Good, so is mine," said Boomer. "Eraser, which way are you coming from?"
"I'm coming in on the railroad line from the north of you guys."
"Great, we're coming your way."
I followed Boomer to the railroad tracks, then we turned left and ran.
"I see the town," said Eraser.
"We're almost out of town," said Boomer.
"I've got four open cans, ready to go."
"Good, I'm in deep amber," said Boomer.
"I'm starving again," I said. "Back into the red."
"Not far now."
"When we get there," said Boomer, "just force-feed him. Don't take a chance at losing more food."
"OK," said Eraser. "Say, how long did you guys wait for that stuff to appear?"
"It seemed like forever," I said. "Why?"
"Because when I dropped some stuff a while ago, it took like a minute for it to appear on the ground next to me."
"Boomer, I bet there's a box of cereal and a can of food out in that field."
"Yeah, you're probably right. I can't believe we lost that food. I'm in the red now, too."
"I'm coming!" said Eraser.
Eraser finally arrived at the site of our bodies. We had already respawned, neither one of us knew where. I'd been chased out of town by a guy and up into the hills before I could get my bearings. I only got a chance to stop after going over a hill, across a road, and through another small town where he had to stop and fight a zombie that jumped us. I kept running, because a second one had come out of the trees for me. Boomer was respawning for the third time, he'd been killed by bandits twice by the time I stopped running.
"Anything you want me to get off these bodies?" asked Eraser.
"No," I said. "It's not like that's my lucky hoodie or something."
"Can you save my broken flashlight?" said Boomer. "That's the only flashlight I've had that didn't get me killed--
"Dangit!" yelled Boomer.
"What?" I said.
"Someone just shot me again! Frikken' snipers!"
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