TUT, Aikage, and I embarked on the deadliest of missions: to find and extract a gnome during the zombie apocalypse. Officially, this mission never happened. But we know what happened that day, and the three of us have to live with with these memories for the rest of our lives. This journal is not so that other can pass judgement on us, but so that the public can know the truth of what happened.

Chapter 1: What's the worst that could happen?

I was a impromptu member of the team, not even knowing the mission until I joined. Aikage and TUT were dead-focused on getting to the target and getting out of there. We had our mission and we had our plan. And despite missing an extra member to our crew, we went on with our mission.

I assumed the alias "Rochelle", while TUT took "Nick", and Aikage took "Lord High Evil of the 90 Realms." We made him change it to "Ellis." Some fat slob codenamed "Coach" joined us as well. Poor grunt. If only he knew what was coming.

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It started off simply enough. After clearing some zombies near our entry point we looked for supplies in a nearby hotel. TUT found a sniper riffle and Coach figured out how not to fall off buildings. But once we left the hotel, things began to get hairy.

After sliding down a hill and getting ambushed by a horde of zombies, I may have accidentally set Aikage on fire. After getting him back on his feet, we ran into a Tank. Aikage was once again taken down when a car was thrown his way. Coach may have gone down too, but to be honest who cares about that guy.

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Once our team limped to the safe-room we increased the difficulty.

Chapter 2: Best Laid Plans

We finally made it to Whispering Oaks fairgrounds, the rendezvous point for our gnome. Things started off a bit weird. TUT began acting a bit weird. We soon figured out TUT and Coach switched bodies. But even with this setback, Aikage, TUT, "Nick", and I had a job to do. After a small skirmish we made it to the shooting gallery to pick up out target. After two tries (once I stopped shooting the wrong targets) and a horde attack we had it: the gnome!

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Aikage was appointed official gnome handler, a job he took with pleasure. Great pleasure. Maybe too much pleasure. It was a bit of a bad situation. Aikage wasn't exactly protecting the gnome as much as he was bludgeoning zombies with it. TUT and I tried to cover Aikage as much as possible, but constant horde attacks and a Tank made it difficult. I also may have been critically injured by accidentally startling a Witch. Meanwhile, Nick practiced blowing spit bubbles.

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After many trials, we found our way to a carousel. To get further we had to alert all the zombies in the area. We started the merry-go-round and ran for our lives. Aikage took the lead, gnome-fuing any zombie in his path. I tried to cover him, with TUT following behind. Sadly at some point the zombies overtook me. I used my failing body as bait as Aikage and TUT secured the gnome at the safe house. Presumably Nick died at some point too, but really who cares about that guy?

Chapter 3: Where It All Falls Apart

Through the power of gnomish magic, I was brought back from the land of the dead. So was Nick, but whatever that's not important. We were stuck in the tunnel of love and needed to find a way out.

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The nerves were starting to get to us. Everybody started laughing for no reason.

We fought our way through the tunnels, out the maintenance room, and down "Scary Hole." Another tunnel later and we were finally back outside. I shot a window and jumped through because I thought it looked badass. Nobody really noticed.

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The only way to progress was to start a rollercoaster and follow the tracks, alerting every zombie in the process. The plan was simple: get on the tracks and run like crazy. This plan was doomed from the start because Nick forgot how to run and was imediately killed by zombies. TUT foolishly tried to go back and save him by hacking through the zombies with his trusty axe, but was soon overcome. Aikage and I bolted but were taken out by a hunter and a jocky respectively.

Gnomish magic brought us back to the tunnels and we made our agonizing trip back through the bowels of the swan ride. We made it back to the outside, I once again jumped though a window, and we flawlessly killed a tank that didn't understand the concept of an invincible chain-link fence.

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We attempted the coaster run again, this time putting TUT at the front of the group with his axe. Nick was caught by a Smoker and used as bait to lure the zombies away from us as we made the the dash towards the safe room.

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Once we were safely locked in the safe room, TUT and I murdered Aikage while we waited for Nick to bleed out.

Chapter 4: Left for Dead

Aikage and Nick were revived and the team made our way through a fairground and some barns. It was all going so well until we got the the stadium. We set off the alarm trying to open the gates, within moments we were swarmed on all sides by infected. We fought them off until the games were open and made a break for the safehouse.

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We were ambushed by a Boomer waiting on the other side of the gate like a fat ninja, summoning even more zombies to slow us down. The group eventually took down TUT, and I got hit by a Charger. Nick probably died back in the barns, I'm not sure.

With our dying dying cries begging for help, Aikage made a break for the safe room. He closed the door and secured the gnome. Another step toward completing the mission, but TUT and I would secretly hold resentment.

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Chapter 5: All Things End

Our ammo was low, our psychs breaking. We needed to get the gnome out of there and fast. There was only one option: put on a rock show and hope to get rescued.

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Aikage and I made battle preparations and drew up a plan for the inevitable mass zombie attack. TUT stayed on stage and sang some songs. Nick chewed on a shoe. Someone (probably Aikage) started the concert early and before I knew it we were neck deep in zombies.

Fortunately, this was no problem compared to the previous hardships. We slaughtered the whole lot of them. And then we slaughtered the Tank and the next wave of zombies. All was going well...until the second Tank.

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It just wouldn't show up. We could hear it making a huge fuss, but it was trapped in an building. We tried everything to lure it out. Taunts, bullets, and even a misthrown molitov could not coax the angry, though shy, Tank from the building.

Some prodding and gentle words later, the Tank agreed to come and and we killed it handily. Aikage led the group to the far side of the stadium to await evac. A chopper arive on the exact opposite side of the stadium, so we battled our way all the way back as the stadium filled with zombies and Tanks.

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We piled in the chopper and waited for the pilot to take off. But he never did. Nick hadn't made it to the plane yet, and the Tanks were closing in on us. Mercifully, Nick died and the pilot took off before the Tanks could get to us. The gnome was safe, and we were finally home free.

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But I can't help but feel we were severely affected by this mission. I mean, we did what we needed to survive and got the gnome back. But it changed us. We will never be the same. So yes, we did save the gnome, but at what cost?

Well, Nick's life for one. But at what substantial cost?