Stuck .....

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Preacher
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Stuck .....

Post by Preacher » March 19th, 2012, 12:20 pm

In my present WIP, i have my team of special soldiers holding up in an old penitentiary while a herd of zombies with stone skin converges on them. The guys are low on ammo and i need a way to get them out and destroy these zombies. I am kind of stuck trying to figure out a cool fix to end the situation. The first thing that comes to mind is to lure them in, lock them down in one of the cell blocks and blow the place up with thm trapped inside. The logistics are off for me. I would need the explosives, a way to get the zombies inside, and then a way to set it all off. Any suggestions on how to deal with this are greatly appreciated.

Greg

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by dios4vida » March 19th, 2012, 1:03 pm

Howdy Preacher.

The first things that come to mind are some questions:

-What are the zombies weak to? Stone skin would definitely be hard to beat, but everything has to have some kind of weakness. What is it that will stop a stone-skinned zombie in their tracks? This would be a good way to see if there's something handy that would be an especially effective weapon.

-What are the skills of your main protagonist and other major characters? It's helpful if their expertise would give them an answer or idea that others might not have thought of. Out-of-the-box thinking, so to speak.

Your basic idea does sound good, and with some tweaking, workable. How to draw the zombies in - well, if they're dead-set for brains or living matter, if the good guys lost some comrades in the battle to get into the prison, their bodies could be sacrificed as bait (also giving a good place for character building, to show compassion and an unwillingness to leave behind the fallen but needing to preserve the living). Lures are always a good option.

As to where they get the explosives - that one's a little harder. Is one of your soldiers a bomb technician, and are there leftover chemicals in the storage rooms? Did the prison guards have ammo caches? Is there a doomsday device somewhere so that the prison could have been destroyed if a disaster struck, in order to keep the prisoners from escaping (it would have to be a very hard-core prison in that case, but it could work if your world allowed for things like that.)?

To set it all off, could you have a detonator with the ammo cache, or have the bomb technician make a crude one from some faulty wiring (or something that might actually work), or does someone have to stay behind as a martyr? Could they make a trap so that when a zombie rushed in a destroyed something, or moved something, or tried to eat a corpse, it would trigger the device or spill one chemical into another that causes the explosion?

Those are my ideas off the top of my head. I don't know if they'd work in your story, but hopefully it'll give you some thoughts to run with. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Preacher » March 19th, 2012, 1:31 pm

Okay, well, there is always room for me to change some thins but as of right now i had my team killing them by shooting them through the eyes or ears to blow the brains up. Now if that isn't all that sensible i can always go back and change that. As of now regular ammo is obviously not working. The team has a guy who does have bomb expertise. It also has a guy who has the ability to change into a werewolf and another guy who is hyped up on a super soldier serum that gives him incredible strength and endurance and such. The others are just normal soldiers with normal weapons.

These zombies are created using the blood of the original Medusa. Her blood is made into something that turns them that way, with the stone skin, but they also will reatin a bit of their original consciousness. See, this was supposed to be a program to create a soldier with the dense skin to send into battle but it didn't work originally, so the guy who developed it left DARPA and went and found the original Medusa and usesd her blood to make it work and now he intends to prove everybody wrong and has a plan that ends with lots of people being turned into these stone zombies. If there are problems there, i can always tweak them.

There could easily be a room that has chemicals and ammpo and stuff that could be used to make a bomb to blow the place but if that is it i want someone to have to stay behind to set it, almost a martyr, but he will of course survive. I would use the leader of the unit to do it, kind of like what captain Kirk would do. So the bomb stuff would work, lure the zombies, or just open the doors and let them in while the rest of the team escapes out the back or something. Then the captain sets off the bomb as he drops through a trap door that takes him to a tunnel below the prison or something like that.

There ya go ..... LOL and thank you very much.

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by polymath » March 19th, 2012, 11:48 pm

Two sides of the question and potential answers I see are from asking what's the zombies' Achilles' Heel and what credible resources does the special squad have available?

The zombies are stone skinned as armor protection from ballistic projectiles. Explosives applied directly to them may have limited impact (sic). Dropping a building on them would have more impact. It doesn't take much explosive to weaken bearing structures like support pillars. Stone is also vulnerable to rapid heating when there's mechanical and chemically bound water in the stone. The water builds up steam pockets that explode violently. Stone comprised of calcium compounds is also vulnerable to concentrated muriatic acid. An old prison could credibly have a stockplie of muriatic acid setting around waiting to be used for cleaning walls and floors in preparation for a restoration or retasking of the building.

What lures the zombies into the prison is another matter of their Achilles' Heel. What do they want most? Put whatever it is they want in the prison and lure them in by exposing it to them. Something as simple as they crave trace minerals necessary for their metabolism and thus their survival would do. Maybe salt, or rare earths? Or some object? Or a specific person? A rule of conventional war for drawing the enemy into a firefight is to take and hold what the enemy wants and deny it to them.

If the special soldiers don't have explosives, an old prison offers an ideal source for making them. If the prison has a below ground story and the foundations are periodically exposed to water seepage from outside, a crystal scale forms on the dungeon walls. The scale is a concentrated mixture of potasium nitrate and potasium perchlorate, ingredients used in making blackpowder and high explosives. I won't go into the specific recipes out of an abundance of caution, but some carbon source like charcoal to mix with the scale crytsals or sugar and a sufficeintly potent explosive for compromising structural supports could bring the building down on the zombies. Or maybe the explosions lure the zombies in, the building fails to fall on them, but further explosions disorient them sufficiently so the special soldiers can stage a tactical retreat.

I don't think electricity would be effectual. Drowning or knocking them down or knocking down part of the building with a flood from a roof cistern maybe would be credible.

Maybe the zombies are vulnerable to chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is easy to make in large quantities from simple cleaning solutions that might have been left in a janitors' closet. Sodium hypochlorate and lye would do, bleach and drain cleaner. Warning, chlorine gas is extremely toxic for air breathers in even minute quantities.

Fire, air, water, earth, that about covers what occurs to me. I'm a walking caution of dangerous knowledge. It's good that I don't rile up easy-like and don't care to cause anyone any harm.
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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Preacher » March 20th, 2012, 12:17 am

POLY:
Thank you, as always. The muriatic acid solution is definitely a cool one that is easily accomplished. But i gotta say the crystal scale solution is really intriguing and also very different, could work also. Even the chlorine gas thing would work and it is easy to recreate. But i wonder if a combination of things would make for an effective scene -maybe they use the crystal scale with sugar to make the explosives to bring the building down but not until they make a spray head that concentrates the muriatic acid to blow up a few. After a few go down, they exit and then detnoate the crystal scale bombs and bring the whole damn prison down on them. That could be ba fun scene to write, lots of death, explosives and chunks of stone and iron all over.

the lure -i saw an episode of Star Trek where there was a creature that basically fed off of the salt and minerals that come from human bodies. It needs that salt and those nutrients to keep alive. So maybe they figure it out in the prison and set up a big stockpile of salt and other nutrients. They let them in to feed and as they do they spary them with the concentrated acid, of which they only find a small quantity, then they exit the prison and detonate the crystal scale bombs and bring the whole place down. Does that work? I just wonder about how you detonate that kind of a bomb. There would have to be a few to comprimise the structure and i dont know how you would detonate them all at the same time. Would it be just a detonator where they press a button? Would it be wire hooked into it and a plunger or could they use a cell phone as a detonator?

Thanks for the assistance. I just want to get the logistics right before i write the scene.

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by polymath » March 20th, 2012, 12:50 am

A reasonably reliable and consistent fuse can be made with cotton or linen fiber twine or narrow gauge rope soaked in a potasium nitrate (the crystal scale) and water solution and dried. Controlled detonations beforehand could weaken the structure so that the last explosions do the job with less hassle and less danger for the special soldiers. Combining strategies might be fun. Like chlorine gas grenades made in glass jars could be used to direct the zombies' movements inside the prison. The muriatic acid could be used like Malotov cocktails to direct them also, weaken their defenses, and disorient them. Drive them into a space that's primed for an inferno, set it ablaze then drop the building on them. One caution, some things have to go wrong so that real danger for the special soldiers is shown and so that the outcome remains in doubt until the scene finale.
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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Preacher » March 20th, 2012, 12:54 am

Absolutely, stuff will go crazy for sure. But the strategy combo will be fun, muriatic acid in glass jars to herd them from the outside to the inside, or use the chrloine gas. I assume that if one was to soak enough of an area with the acid it could be lit easily enough and then create the burning inferon within the prison, which gives the team the time to escape and then detnoate the big bomb to take the place down. Maybe even find the water pipes and set it so the acid flows through the pipes into the sprinklers over the area and as they gather the alarm is tripped, the sprinklers then go ahead and douse the zombies in the acid and it is lit and the inferno begins.

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by polymath » March 20th, 2012, 1:48 am

Muriatic acid isn't flammable. It violently dissolves calcium salts like in bones and calcium carbonate feldspath* rocks and concrete cement. For a raging inferno, maybe desks and chairs and tables and wainscotting taken from around the prison would do. Maybe drench the wood with something like Sterno cooking fuel that could also crediibly be lying around an old prison, or some other accelerant, furnace oil, for example.

The prison pipes could deliver chlorine gas easily. Muriatic acid not so effectively. Calcium scale buildup in the old pipes would diminish the acid's potency and cause hazardous backwashes onto the soldiers. Muriatic acid can inflict fourth-degree chemical burns. However, one of the byproducts of mixing muriatic acid and calcium salts is hydrogen gas. HCL + CaCO3 = Heat + H2 + CaCl + O2. The hydrogen and oxygen gas mix is explosively flammable but to make a difference in a large space would need to be concentrated and in copious quantities.

Chlorine gas is emerald green. Fumes coming off muriatic acid in contatct with calcium are a billowing misty white. Sterno burns a bluish red color. It's an alcohol gel. A colorful rainbow spectacle to add to explosions and flying chunks of stone, concrete, and iron.

* Feldspaths include sandstone, marble, granite, and basalt. Igneous varities react slower to acid than sedimentary feldspaths. I envision the zombies having a sedimentary-like stone skin close in consistency to concrete, bone, or hard sandstone.
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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Preacher » March 20th, 2012, 7:54 am

Sems to me that less can make for more. I think that picking one solution and applying it to the problem makes for a clearer scene outline and keeps the action more fluid. Other solutions can be kept around for other scenes. Maybe as the team regroups they create a weapon that can deliver concentrated amounts of the muriatic acid and that becomes the weapon of chouice in the battle. For now, i think sticking with hooking up some chlorine gas to the sprinklers would be effective enough. Get them in the main cell block, mlock it down, deliver the chlorine gas. The zombies go down and then as the team escapes they can just raze the building by making the explosives from the crystal scale. I tried to Google crystal scale to get a better idea of how the bomb made from that and charcoal or sugar would work but i couldn't find anything. Would such bombs need a detonator like you described above? Or would it be detonated another way? I picture them oughing and dropping and then the building falling down on them as the crystal scale bombs are detonated.

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by polymath » March 20th, 2012, 9:28 am

The crystal scale is mostly saltpeter, one of the three ingredients in gunpowder. The process of its formation in basements and dungeons isn't common anymore since foundations have been coated with vapor barriers. Known as efflorescence, the process was more common when gunpowder was in its infancy. Saltpeter and charcoal make blackpowder. Sulfur is the third indredient. A percussion cap, a fuse, a hot spark, or fire will set it off. However, unless contained, neither blackpowder nor gunpowder does more than fizzle and flare. Simple pipe bombs with fuses would do. Sugar doesn't work well with saltpeter but it does with potasium perchlorate. White gunpowder is a little more complicated to make but makes a high explosive that will detonate whether contained or not.

Alternatively, perhaps the old prison could be a storage company facility for hazardous materials, like for a demolition company. Then there'd be primer cord, blasting caps, explosives, and heavy duty drills and saws on hand. Maybe another wing stores industrial chemicals, like concentrated muriatic acid. Maybe there's demolition equipment parked in the yard. wrecking crane, front end loader, bulldozer.
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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Preacher » March 20th, 2012, 9:32 am

INTERESTING, demolition equipment. Lure the suckers in, trap them in the cell block, hit them with the chlorine gas from the sprinkler system and as they choke and panic, used bulldozers and the wrecking ball to knock the place down. Or i could even use the explosives and the blasting caps. The place is in a mining area in Western Virginia so maybe there is enouigh dynamite or other explosives to use to take it down after all that. it feels much better to me now.

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Mark.W.Carson » March 21st, 2012, 8:04 am

Here's something to consider, Preacher.

I'm NRA trained, and have been a forum leader for weapons message boards. Most ammunition can do significant damage to stone, depending on just what kind of stone you are talking about, the thickness, etc, and the type of weapons your soldiers are using.

Something to consider is that if this is an old penitentiary (how old) you could always have things like gas lines to be used, etc. Another is to have the walls crumbled over top of them.

You could have one of the soldiers inadvertently find out about the gas lines by shooting one and having it come out and mention the smell. Then you could have them set up a charge with an unfired shell in a door hinge. When the zombies open the hinge, the gas that has built up blows them to hell.


Another thing to consider is that an ear or eye shot is VERY VERY difficult, even when you are relaxed, because of little things like trigger control, breath control, etc. When I shoot, even at 10yds with a pistol, I can shoot 5 inches off if my breathing is not controlled, or if my finger slips just a little.

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Preacher » March 21st, 2012, 8:18 am

So then it seems as if i might have made a fundamental error when the fight scenes happen, especially is ammunition can do damage to stone. I assume that damage is to tear it off in chunks and stuff like that. But what if it wasn't exactly stone and it was basically bulletproof? i am shooting for some fantasy type elements here so i figure i can have enough license to create such a thing. What do you think of the idea of making the chlorine gas and using the sprinkler system to choke these things out? I thought it was a cool thing and then i intended to have them use some demolition equipment like bulldozers and front loaders and a wrecking ball to crumble the place down on the creatures.

If i take the ammo vulnerability away i am left with something more plain than i wished for.

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Mark.W.Carson » March 21st, 2012, 8:40 am

Zombies are undead. Do they have to breathe? What type of soldiers are they? What time period, and what weapons do your soldiers have? The eye/ear shots are especially hard under stress, and as the barrel heats up from multiple enemies, precision suffers.

Figure your average soldier with an M4 carbine, or opposite side forces with an AK 74 (the 47 has since mostly been retired unless you are talking about the very poor countries). They fire small projectiles very fast. They can tear chunks out of rock, but it depends.

What kind of stone are their skins made from, and how thick?
http://www.theboxotruth.com/ should be a good starting point.

You could make your zombies regenerative, and that they need oxygen to regenerate. That way, a hit that doesn't take out major lung/brain function is quickly healed by necrotized tissue.

not exactly stone, but look at this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx_SfG34Jpo

The AR15 uses the same ammo as the M16/M4. (.223)
The .308 round in the video is used in some sniper rifles still, and was the round for the M14 used in early Vietnam
The "Russian Round" he refers to is what the AK47 uses (Though he uses an SKS). Steel is not stone, though, and at 1" that's armor.

The other thing is, he's a trained shooter, and at 40yds, he is hitting in those groups shooting relatively fast.

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Re: Stuck .....

Post by Preacher » March 21st, 2012, 9:08 am

They are not really zombies, they do need oxygen, and i want them to retain more of their cognitive abilities but they shamble and move slow because their bodies are so heavy from their thick skin. Maybe stone is the wrong way to say it. Maybe it is just extremely thick.

The time period is the present and the weapons they carry are these -a gatling mini gun with a large ammo case, Heckler and Koch MK23, A Steyr, a FN P90, and A Stoeger double defense shotgun. I am not really sure how potent these weapons are. I really picked them because the names were cool and they looked good in pictures. So i guess i would need to know what kind of damage these weapons would do as far as the thick skin and such.

These "creatures" are created by something made from the blood of the original Medusa. I wanted to make it something that can be put in bottled water, but that's where i am. Changes can always be made. The thick skin idea is used to make these "creatures" a weapon that doesn't need to wear any special kind of war suit. One thing i wanted was for them to have a ned for lots of nutrients to survive, like salt, and that they feed on others to get those nutrients to live.

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