Fear the Fireflies
Over on the Destructoid forums, there is a tradition that began years ago and still continues to this day. We play Werewolf. For those unfamiliar, it’s a social deduction game in which a small team with a lot of information is pitted against a larger team with less information. You might know it as Mafia.
I moderated the last round of it, and I went with a modified rule set to follow the theme of The Last of Us. What follows is a retelling of those events. It is basically bad fanfiction with lots of killing in it. Enjoy!
One thing to note is that this recap leaves out all of the mechanics of the game, showing only the flavor text. Start reading the full thing from the beginning to get a feel for how the game runs and how players interact with one another. Also, if you would like to play, the current game is taking players. We need a few more to hit a good number. Sign up if you want.
You can’t remember how many years it has been since the Cordyceps outbreak. Twelve? Fifteen? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re alive, relatively safe in a small, secure compound in western Colorado. With you are a dozen other survivors, hardened from years of running. You don’t know their individual stories, but they’re all the same. We’ve all lost loved ones. We’ve all seen humans turn on other humans. Some of us have had to kill in order to survive.
Lately, things have been quiet. The guards keep a tight schedule posted around the walls, and bandit raids have become fewer and further between. There are still Clickers roaming around, but they can’t get in. We’re safe.
There have been some rumblings of a cure. It’s crazy. There’s nothing that can cure one of those things except a bullet to the brain or a shiv to the neck. But still, some people hope. Some might even think of joining the Fireflies in order to search for a cure. I say “let ’em.” Just don’t slack on your guard duty, and keep me out of it.
2) The Defenestrator
10) Captain Merica
11) Corduroy Turtle
You all wake to the sound of growling and hissing outside the camp walls. This isn’t unusual. It has almost taken the place of a rooster crowing, letting everybody know that it’s time to get up and get to work maintaining the camp. As you all gather, you notice somebody is missing from the morning meeting. Making haste to his room, the group finds a grisly scene.
He lay on the floor face down in a puddle of thick maroon blood. Flipping him over, the group finds a note on his chest.
“He wouldn’t keep his mouth shut so we found another way to keep him quiet.”
The blood long since stopped flowing, but it had been rushing out of his carotid artery, through a gaping wound that stretched from the right side of his neck to his Adam’s apple. Its jagged edges betrayed the use of a makeshift blade, the likes of which we are all familiar. This murder could have been perpetrated by any of us.
domanz has been murdered by the Fireflies.
The group stared dumbfounded at domanz’s body all morning. Two members threatened to execute one another, but everybody else just shook their heads and shuffled off to their jobs, where they toiled and troubled all day until bedtime.
The camp members woke to the sound of a loud burst nearby. This could not be good.
The group all rushed to the source of the sound and found some powder burns on the ground next to a recently exsanguinated body. Shards of scrap metal and scissor blades were embedded at various levels in the skin, but the deadly wound was from a severe gash on the left thigh, opening up the femoral artery onto the hard dirt floor. There was clearly a struggle as he stumbled toward the door, but he just lost too much blood too quickly.
Near the powder burns, a rent tin can lay, with remnants of a rudimentary tripwire. Somebody placed this here in the night. Somebody murdered this man. BrowneyeWinkin was killed.
The general unrest heightened in the encampment. What are we supposed to do about these nightly murders? Can we even do anything?
Things were looking more grim than ever. Not only were there Clickers outside the walls, but somebody or somebodies inside the camp were picking us off day by day. This world has hardened most of us, but while the sight of a dead body might not have the same immediate impact as it used to, now it carries something else with it. Despair. If we don’t figure out who is doing this and deal with the problem, any one of us could be next.
This body lay lifeless on the ground with a twisted grimace on its face. No blood was spilled, but his windpipe was crushed, with the distinct markings of human hands bruising the skin. Marche was strangled to death.
Marche100 was killed.
FromTheRiver made a bold claim, suggesting that he is immune to the Cordyceps parasite. The group didn’t believe him. One by one, survivors turned on one of their own, thirsty to end the bloodshed the only way they know how: with more bloodshed. In the end, cooler heads prevailed and nobody was exiled or murdered, but all were wary to go to sleep knowing there was still a menace living among them
There was a storm overnight. It’s funny; some of us still remember a time when storms were bad things. We would hear about them on the news and it meant you’d be a few minutes later getting home after work. Or you couldn’t cook on the grill. It seems so stupid now.
Today, storms are welcome, especially if they last the night. We’ve got water for our gardens, and we collect it to drink and cook with. Those are the obvious benefits. But the best part of a storm is that it lets us sleep soundly through the night, masking the shrieks that emanate from the forest just outside the camp.
The crack of thunder and the dull wave of rain hitting our rooftops also make it harder to hear any milling about after curfew. As we lay in our beds, getting the best night’s sleep we have had in weeks, someone crept into a room and fired two shots from a 9mm pistol, right into Captain Merica’s sleeping head.
Captain Merica has been killed!
Sick of the threat of murder looming over their heads, the survivors gathered around the mess hall, eager to do something. Many were suspicious of FromTheRiver, so he would be the one to go.
“Should we shank him?” asked one survivor.
“If we do that, we’re no better than he is. Let’s just exile him and leave it to the Clickers.”
And so the group grabbed him, held his arms down, and shoved him out of the front gate, locking it quickly behind them. “Here, take this,” one shouted, throwing a pistol over the gate. “It’s got one round in the chamber, in case you don’t want to turn into one of those things.”
The familiar clicking sound was near. FromTheRiver dashed into the woods as it drew closer. No gunshots rang out. He was gone, one way or another.
After ousting him from the encampment, the survivors took to his quarters to look for any evidence that he was behind the murders. In his room they found a few shivs and some spare ammunition — nothing out of the ordinary. There was no indication that he was planning on joining the Fireflies. Perhaps we made a mistake?
FromTheRiver was ousted from the encampment. He was not a Firefly.
The morning was unusually quiet. No birds chirping, no storms in the distance, and thankfully no explosions rocking everybody awake. As the group gathered to think about yesterday and plan for today, one member was expectedly missing. Moving as a group to his bunk, the sinking feeling set in. We know what we’re going to find. It’s getting to the point where it isn’t even startling any more.
Reaching the bunk, we saw a lifeless body as it lay on the ground. Covered in bruises and scrapes, the kill came from a crushing blow to the skull. The weapon was likely a nearby 2×4, covered in blood and mud. There were bootprints on the body’s chest where the killer stood as he smashed Muckfoot’s head in.
Muckfoot was killed!
The survivors gathered around, weary of the cycle of nightly murders, knowing that if they didn’t retaliate, the killing would continue until the camp was empty. Somebody had to go. One survivor pointed out that RobertoPlankton hasn’t seemed so distraught over the situation. One by one they all piled on evidence, and eventually they literally piled on RobertoPlankton. The group held him down and beat him bloody before finally smashing the back of his head on the rough concrete.
After enacting the punishment, the survivors rifled through RobertoPlankton’s stuff. There were a few candy bars, some medicine, and an ancient girly magazine. Nothing pointed to RobertoPlankton being a Firefly.
RobertoPlankton was executed. He was not a Firefly.
The nights have been quieter and quieter lately. I guess that’s what happens when everybody around you is being murdered. Morning came, and the few remaining gathered together before manning the guard posts. Dishes and clothes were going dirty these days, since there were hardly enough people to be on guard duty, let alone cleaning detail. It was easy to see who was missing. Making our way to his living quarters, we noticed the stench of charred meat and melted plastic. There were shards of broken glass surrounding the body, which had been blackened almost out of recognition. Flamoctapus had been burned to death.
As we all just shook our heads in silence, a door slammed open behind us. “I must thank you for the bullet you gave me!” a familiar voice cried out, “but it only seems right to return it to you.” We turned to see FromTheRiver bleeding on his left shoulder. In a flash, he raised the revolver up to PhilKenSebben’s forehead and pulled the trigger. The sound was deafening for the rest of us. For Phil, it was deadening. Not the sound. The bullet. It went through his brain. He died.
“What happened to you?” one of us asked River, pointing to his shoulder. “Oh, a pack of wolves surrounded me out there, but I fought them off. No big deal.” We looked through PhilKenSebben’s stuff and found no evidence he was a Firefly.
Flamoctapus was killed by the Fireflies! FromTheRiver returned and killed PhilKenSebben! PhilKenSebben was not a Firefly!
FromTheRiver looked at the rest of the survivors. “Yeah, I killed someone who turned out not to be a Firefly. So what? I bet we can kill all the non-Fireflies if we wanted to! Who’s with me!?”
Corduroy Turtle stood up. “Yeah, let’s get those assholes! Go Fireflies! Woo murder!”
A cricket chirps.
Everybody else looks at one another, half-puzzled and half waiting for more Fireflies to show up. When none do, they all simultaneously rush at Corduroy Turtle, makeshift blades at the ready. He is hit all over his belly and back, wounds piercing his vital organs. As he lay on the ground bleeding out, he wonders to himself where he went wrong. Hopefully his fellow Fireflies would still be able to save the human race. He won’t be here to see it.
As a formality, the group looks through his personal effects. He had a stockpile of a few shivs and an improvised explosive device, but underneath those mundane items was more telling evidence. A propaganda pamphlet titled “Cordyceps and You: The Fireflies Will Save Humanity.” In it were a host of scribbles, the most prominent saying “ONE DEATH EVERY NIGHT. FIND THE IMMUNE.” It looks like we finally got one of those bastards.
Corduroy Turtle was executed! He was a Firefly!
The night was short. Like, strangely short. It felt as if we all went to bed and immediately got up without even sleeping. There were only three people at the meeting this morning. Despite the joy of having found one of the culprits the day before, we all knew what this meant. We knew where to go and we knew what we’d find. The body lay on the floor, missing most of its head. It looks like a single, point-blank shotgun blast was all it took. Though the face was unrecognizably scattered around the room, we know who it is because we can see who is left. The Defenestrator was dead. We threw his body out of the window in remembrance.
The Defenestrator was killed!
With only three survivors left in the camp, attention turned to FromTheRiver. We know he’s not a Firefly, so the camp’s fate rests in his hands. Panzadolphin56 accused Kir of being behind the murders. Kir accused Panzadolphin56. Kir also let slip another piece of information. Both held their pistols up at the other in a Mexican standoff.
“I have been watching over you; keeping you safe. I am sworn to protect you. I am the reason you are still alive right now,” Kir said.
River stared for a few seconds, considering Kir’s words. “You are sworn to protect me? You’re the reason I’m still alive? You voted to kick me out of this place! Where the fuck were you when I was out there being attacked by Clickers?” River pulled his shirt down to reveal his shoulder, with a localized fungal infection on it. The other two gasped.
Taking advantage of the shock, FromTheRiver kicked the pistol out of Kir’s hand. “Take him out, Panza.” Panzadolphin56 fired five quick shots into Kir’s chest. As Kir lay bleeding on the ground, FromTheRiver stomped on the back of his head, finishing the job. Poking out of Kir’s back pocket was a handwritten note.
WE ARE SO CLOSE. WE JUST NEED TO ISOLATE THE IMMUNE AND GET OUT OF HERE. -CORDUROY TURTLE
Kir was executed! He was a Firefly! Survivors and Immune win!