Zombies are a popular cultural theme at the moment, with a silly amount of computer games from all genres (Western, Army, Etc) having “Zombie SubGames”. And there’s the current hit show “The Walking Dead” not to mention the resurgence in Zombie Films.
They also hold a special place in the hearts of Geeks all over the world, and we here at the Insane Asylum are no different. In fact they have been a constant topic of conversation for years here, due to one of the Inmates having both a fascination and a fear of them. As such we often discuss methods of surviving the inevitable Apocalypse, and what they did wrong in different shows/films.
As such I have a carefully worked out survival plan in the back of my mind that is constantly being updated and added too. I also keep a mental subconscious tracking of where the nearest place to collect weapons is depending on where I am at the time of the outbreak. Now this random thinking while driving, working, etc. has recently brought up a question in my mind. “What is the most valuable Skill/Talent you need someone in your group to have to increase your chances of survival?” I have asked several people (See I do my research) and they all got the answer wrong, but in fairness I will post some of their suggestions.
The ability to load, clean, fire a variety of Firearms is a staple skill in most Zombie fiction. Getting a headshot from a distance with random guns is not an easy task unless you are trained in eyeing in the sights, or are a good shot, both which are skills that need to be trained or practised. You give a rifle to a random person off the street and try and get them to his a head sized object from a distance. Or maybe short range weapons, like Swords, Machetes, Baseball bats, they still need some skill or strength to use properly. So weapons skills are a very handy skill to have to help survival chances, but they are not the most useful, after all how much skill does it need to hit someone with a shotgun?
AH, the ability to survive in the wilds where there are not many dead. The skills of hunting (both for food and zombie killing), foraging, trapping, etc. Do you know what plants are safe to eat? can you make a fire without matches? can you survive in the wilderness? These too are very handy sills that could make the difference between life & death.
This goes without saying for the obvious. In a time where hospitals are closed, and GP’s are a thing of the past something as simple as a broken bone, or open cut can go from being a treatable injury to a life threatening one without medical treatment. There is also a possible little thought of use for medical skills. Say you got a shallow bit on you from a zombie, could a Medic drain the blood from you in that area, and flay off the surrounding skin and prevent you becoming infected? Could their skills then help you survive and heal?
Ah, the old skill set for sorting out electricity, vehicles, fortifying encampments, repairing equipment and keeping everything running and giving us our advantage of technology. Engineers will be worth their weight in gold in any apocalypse.
I’m listing this one as it tends to be one of the most popular answers, since it generally includes weapons training, survival skills, basic field medical skills, tactics, and a load of other valuable skills that you need during any time of struggle.
And the correct answer is, and this is going to come as a surprise, “Socio-path” I know you may call it a mental disorder more than a talent, but I think in the time of the Zombie Apocalypse we should reclassify it a survival talent. Some of you are probably scratching your head about now, so let me explain my theory. Think about every zombie film/tv show you have ever watched, think about all the super soldiers, cops, etc. in those shows. Now consider how often the following scenarios happen?
1) The person/group are travelling and they see a small child alone looking scared, so they move in to comfort the child. Only as they get in grabbing range they discover the child is a zombie and a portion of their group is killed/infected before they manage to kill it. Consider the socio-path, They see a small child and think “no way a kid that young could survive alone in the open in a zombie infested area” *BANG* dead kid, no team members hurt.
2) A member of the group is bitten, but still unchanged so the rest of the group keep them with them either to help fight the zombies, or in a hope they will get better. In all cases as soon as your best friend/partner/whatever turns they attack and always manage to kill/infect a good chunk of the group. Lets consider the Socio-path again, Team member is bit *BANG* dead team member, but no further death/infection.
You need someone with the mindset of a socio-path to do the tasks we all know is needed, but which the average “normal” person is not naturally equipped to do since they are burdened by guilt, conscious, etc.
So remember come the Apocalypse find yourself some high functioning socio-paths to team up with, they may just save your life.