By Alex Fauth, with additional material and inspiration by Mike Surbrook and Max Fauth

We take sixteen clueless telegenic young things and dump them in the most hostile place on earth. Each week they must compete with one another—and the locals—to survive in this barren place. However, each one must also work with the others—for they will nominate who is to be thrown out of the Zone after each week. There can only be one Zero Zone Survivor. Maybe less.

The teams were divided into two tribes: Dead Meat and Worm Food. Oddly enough, despite the fact that they were meant to be competing with each other, both tribes began banding together for mutual protection.

During week two, several of the contestants began going out of their way to irritate the others. Stealing their food and making a big fuss over it, dunking them in untreated sewage, setting fire to their toes, selling their organs on the black market and so on. Then it occurred to the producers and other contestants that they may have been deliberately trying to get voted out.

"At first we all laughed behind our backs when Rachelle was voted out of the Zone," Skye, 24, said. "She was a snotty little bitch and deserved it. But then when we saw her doing the talk show circuit while we were eating cockroaches, we began to realize that she was the lucky one."

"Okay, so I've signed to do a nude pictorial as my last fleeting shot at celebrity status," Rachelle admitted. "But at least I'm not covered in shit or being chased by cyber-zombies."

"braaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnsssss," a cyber-zombie added when asked for comments.

There was some controversy in week six when Evan sold several of his fellow contestants into slavery. "Look, the point of the show is to survive," he stated. "I was living up to the premise: Outwit, outlast, out-something. Besides, I know they were planning to vote me off anyway."

A poll was taken as to the most likely winner halfway though the show. "All maimed and killed" was the most popular response.

"These people are fun," Victoria Hagen, a Zone resident stated in an interview. "They are so silly when they're whimpering and pleading for their lives. I wouldn't kill them. Much. Besides, it's funnier to watch them try to live. Oooh, shiny things."

"I've been in the zone for years and have out lasted many other people I've known," Sandra Blackmore, another Zone local stated. "Where's my frelling prize money?" She then beat up the host to prove a point, but that point eludes us.

"If anyone out there is seeing this, I'm stuck here in the Zero Zone! I'm not dead! Somebody, please, help me!" commented David Lam, a zone resident who spent a lot of time following around our camera crew.

"We likes 'em," said Gazza the Torch, 27, leader of a Zone community group. "They's young and healthy looking and have great teeth and good clothes. Me and me mates was gonna go round an' pay a few of them a visit. Hur-hur."

Theresa Morraine, another zone resident added: "Young telegenic nubile innocent gameshow contestants? Where?" All while licking her lips.

Despite viewer expectations, Darryl wasn't voted out of the Zone. That's because the mass-murdering serial puppy kickers killed and ate him.

"I must say that I'm a little disappointed in the Zone. It's certainly not what I thought it'd be," said Damien, 24, after being voted out in week five. "I mean, where were all the underage lesbian strippers? Well?"

Some contestants fared better then others. Gerald, 27, an accountant from Cleveland wound up running off and joining a Zone gang, rising to become their leader in a record amount of time. This is probably why he was one of the last three to be voted out.

Some of the contestants had less then pleasant dealings with zone residents. "But he seemed so nice at first," said Evie, 23 while her leg was being set. "I even complimented him on that ragged red cape he wore. It was very stylish, very modern." Her hunter-gatherer companion, Warren was less lucky, but they did find some bits of him. Eventually.

The biggest problem with Zone Survivor wasn't figuring out who to throw out of the Zone... it was finding who was still alive. The most amazing thing is that some people actually lasted long enough to be voted out.

When asked, Zone local Hiroko O'Hara said she hasn't seen any of the missing Zone Survivor contestants. And she kept thwacking at a large lumpy bag with a heavy stick during the conversation as if to underscore her comments. She also asked the film crew to not look behind Dr. Ludwig's dumpster.

However, they did find Julian, 22, in the home of a pair of Synths known as the Puma Twins, chained up down in the basement. He successfully fought off the security team in order to stay.

Captain Hiro Nakijima of Jinsei's 43rd Infantry discovered the base camp during the final show and claimed it as Jinsei territory. As none of the contestants could be located at the time, he was declared the winner. "This is a great surprise," said Hiro. "I was merely doing my duty for Jinsei." Hiro has already received offers from several film and television companies.

Return to Kazei 5 PBEM Stories