Burroughs, Kerouac, McCarthy, Ballard and Hunter have just pulled in to some nondescript motel somewhere between America’s armpit and its asshole.
They need to get from Washington DC to Safe Haven on the west coast, but all they have is a wood-paneled wagon, carpool dragons and hundreds of miles of road ahead of them.
[The Organ Trail began life as a free, zombie-apocalypse parody of the 1970s eudcational game The Oregon Trail, but the Director’s Cut is an expanded, commercial release that sees Organ Trail leave its parody roots partially behind. I initially thought this would be a done-in-one, but this particular adventure is more sprawling than the simple graphics might lead you to believe.]
The gang wakes up as the sun is beginning to set. Kerouac takes a dexy and gets trading while Ballard and McCarthy patch up the wagon. Kerouac trades the last spare tire for some ammo – the Nev-R-Break tires should hold to the west coast, and they desperately need the ammo, but the spare parts are something of a safety blanket.
Burroughs works a well-paying job, but spends more ammunition than Kerouac just got trading. He goes out scavenging and comes back with some food, and they clamber into the car and put the desert motel in the rearview mirror.
A couple of miles down the road a pack of bikies tears out from hiding, spewing a cloud of dust into the air. Everybody fastens their seatbelts as Burroughs methodically rams them all off the road.
362 Miles to Las Vegas
Further down the road they find some edible roadkill and an abandoned car with some food in it. No ammo though.
They pull over after thirty solid minutes of Ballard hassling Burroughs for a piss break. He runs off into the woods, grabbing the front of his pants. A couple of minutes later there’s a scream, and he runs back with a bite mark on his arm. They’d gotten so far without any bites, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.
McCarthy comes down with dysentery, probably related to the sludge water they all drank from the side of the road. They lose 5 cans of fuel out the window when Burroughs drives straight into a pothole to try and shut Kerouac up. He had been making an annoying noise for the previous thirty miles.
The first thing they do in Vegas is go straight to the trader. Finally, someone is selling ammo. They sell some scrap and a medkit and together with their pooled cash it’s enough to buy 3 boxes. With any luck that’ll be enough.
Burroughs takes a job to collect a package, but in trying to save ammo he gets overrun. The only other job is to kill an entire horde, so he passes that one by. Hunter patches up Burroughs and Ballard with a medkit, but no matter what he tries Ballard’s bite won’t stop weeping. He looks healthy otherwise – they just hope they can get him cured at Safe Haven.
Burroughs gets hurt scavenging, so he uses another medkit. They take the car to an auto shop and get some repairs done.
They have plenty of ammo now, and enough of everything else. As long as Ballard doesn’t turn, it looks like smooth sailing.
328 miles to the mine.
As the sun starts to rise Burroughs nods off for just a moment, and comes to as the wagon slams into a zombie. They’re surrounded. Burroughs gets on the roof and takes care of business, praying to some forgotten Aztec god for the extra ammunition in his pouch.
Down the road the muffler starts scraping along the ground. Burroughs pulls over and Ballard replaces it with Hunter’s help.
They stop for a piss break and Kerouac breaks his leg when he tumbles down a small hill and straight into a tree stump. They load him in the back of the wagon so he can keep his leg straight.
Within moments of them pulling up at the Mine, Burroughs heads out to scavenge. He comes back with food, scrap and cash. There’s not much to buy here though, just some fuel. He drops that load of loot and goes out again, finding more food and a medkit. Ballard tends to his own wounds, and patches Burroughs up when he comes back. They find a walking stick for Kerouac and fix his broken leg as best they can.
There’s a job going to clear out a bandit settlement – it pays well, but those are the kind of jobs you always have to throw a lot of lead at. Burroughs passes it by.
They rest up and head out.
228 miles to Salt Lake City.
It’s a quiet trip. Hunter makes small talk, they find some fuel and some fruit, but otherwise it’s 200 miles of sullen silence.
They roll into the city and drive the wagon straight to an auto shop. The mechanic does half the work, and Ballard does the other half with scrap.
Burroughs goes out scavenging and comes back with a haul. Medkit, money, food, scrap, he can barely carry it all.
They buy some food and some ammo, rest up and tear off.
There’s a small, alert horde just outside town, so they sit in the car for a couple of hours watching its movements. Eventually when it looks docile enough they slowly drive through it.
Burroughs nearly takes a wrong turn, but the GPS chimes up just in time to stop him. They take a piss break and another bandit grabs McCarthy. What is it about Cormac that makes him look like such an easy target?
Burroughs deals with it, just like he’s been dealing with every other situation on this god-forsaken cross-country trip.
Everyone is pretty beat up after that last leg, so they rest up, use some medkits and then Burroughs goes out to scavenge. If he doesn’t find more food they’ll starve on this – the very final leg of the journey. McCarthy suggests rationing the food more strictly, and nobody can argue.
After leaving the rationing meeting Burroughs goes out and finds over 400 ounces of food, so they all change their mind about the rationing.
They sleep, they repair the wagon, and they climb back in, for one last trip.
322 miles to safe haven.
Burroughs falls asleep and they drive head-long into a parked car. Ballard’s leg breaks and two medkits fly out the window in the crash.
Just outside of Safe Haven a blizzard rolls in. They can still see it through the snow though – there’s nothing that could stop them now.
They pull up to Safe Haven. It looks either like another prison or another military base, but this one at least has a ‘Welcome’ banner hanging from the wall.
They start to get out of the wagon and stretch their legs when an amplified voice comes from the compound. They can’t lower the bridge to let them in because the generator is out of fuel. There’s plenty of fuel out there, they say, but a horde is coming in, so the group will have to move fast.
Burroughs grabs his trusty shotgun, but Ballard stops him. The bite on his arm is looking worse – the flesh is turning black and pulling away from the bone.
“I’ve got this. You cover me from the car.”
Ballard gets 7 cans of fuel poured into the generator before succumbing to the horde. Burroughs goes out and finishes the job – putting a bullet in the head of his one-time protégé.
“There ain’t no coming back, Jim.”
The wagon rolls over the bridge and into Safe Haven as the sun sets.