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Green Cross - Mastering Survival and Lifesaving Techniques
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Make Hell...-onade?

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Nicholas Ryan Buchanan was born on December 22nd, 1997, in Henderson County Hospital, in Henderson, Kentucky, by C-section. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, threatening to kill him every time they tried to get him out. He only barely survived. This was to set the precedence for how much of his life would go. When she was pregnant with him, she'd been a drinker (only a light one, but it was enough), and Nick was born with many physical issues: replacement of nearly a quarter of his bone marrow with extra bone structure, stomach issues that heavily modified his diet, and a reduced sensitivity to dangerous levels of pain.

He was raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (which he continued to participate in but otherwise did not stay active with after he turned 16). His babysitters were Halo: Combat Evolved, Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering. He started those at around age 5; his 2-and-a-half years younger brother, Alex, at age 3.  Their half-sister, 2-and-a-half years older than Nick, was quickly disinterested.

In elementary school, Nick was a target. He was picked on... Then bullied... And then, when his persecutors realized they could get away with it, tortured. A gang of these children, led by a psychotic boy 2 years older than Nick, would lock him in closets for entire school days, more and more later on. They beat him and kicked him, at first... Then they got creative. The leader's dad had a knife collection. They would all play "Doctor", tearing his clothes off and seeing how much pressure they could apply before it started bleeding. Often, it wasn't much, but then callouses made it take longer. They used a portable stove to heat the end of a metal rod until it was bright orange, and stabbed it in his side, leaving it there to boil his blood until it finally cooled. After it scabbed up, they yanked it out. Before going home each day, they cleaned up his wounds and made sure he wouldn't bleed more. He was shot once in the foot by a student who had pretended to be his friend for a month (he had closed his eyes before firing), and was then blamed for the fact that the boy brought a gun to school, and got in trouble for "being a bully". Nick ended up failing 3 years in elementary school.

One day, something far more terrible happened... Another young boy was brought into the closet with him, as well as two girls, all mostly naked and tied up as he was. A grown man and a grown woman entered the closet... They raped and cut marks into each child, until they got to Nick. They looked at him and said, "This one's shitty, why the fuck is he in here?" They didn't touch him. Nick got in trouble the next day for asking what the word "fuck" meant, and was sent home early, for which he was grateful.

After the first few months, Nick was miserable. Eventually, he learned something: if he was going to have a chance, he would have to get smarter. So he did. He studied. When he was able to go to class, he did excellently. In fact, driven as he was to get out of his situation, and completely unknown to him because of his situation, he was a child prodigy.

He managed to convince his parents to switch him to a private catholic school called "Maxamillion Montessori Academy" at the end of his 5th grade year (he was taking topics only a year behind at this point, due to his efforts in his classes). He started 6th grade there. The people of that private school thought he was an unextraordinary and socially inhibited child, until his placement exams had him taking high school Algebra 2 and Biology, and then they were completely bewildered when he placed into college-graduate-level English.

His family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky halfway through his 7th grade year, and his switch to public schools scrambled his records. He read books and took naps in "Advanced" classes and passed with A's. A few times he was sent to detention for not being productive, but was always sent back once the teacher in charge of detention saw he had completed all of his work and was not distracting in his classes. This was where his intelligence started to decline. "If you don't use it, you lose it", after all.

In high school, he took advanced classes, and during Freshman year he even participated in the school musical. Sophomore year he tried qualifying for the Gatton Academy program, but he was not selected. At the start of his Junior year he met a young woman through his church's seminary program, who was beautiful, adorable, enjoyably crazy, not churchy, and insanely fun. They were friends instantly, best friends after a week, and a couple after a month. His parents ended up hating her, though that did not matter since he emancipated from them, and her parents ended up appreciating him.

Later, with her parents' permission, Nick asked her to marry him, and she said yes. The couple took some of their friends and went traveling. They first went to Japan, then China, and kept going. When the outbreak hit, their group got caught up in Russia and they realized it would be wise to stay away from populated areas. As things got worse, they stayed away from people as much as they could, keeping under the radar of civilians and law enforcement alike. While the infection spread, they prepared. They gathered materials, food, water, clothing, and goods; each of the six members of the group stocked up a shopping mall to make safe houses. They all stayed in one for months, growing a garden in pots, and being almost completely self-sufficient. When the time came to move to a new safe house, the zombies were migrating up through Russia. Along the way they were almost completely blocked off in all directions. The group faced a terrible decision.

Nick made it for them, telling the rest of the group in private to restrain his fiancé if necessary. He took the semi-truck while they took the two cars, and they tied his fiancé's hands immediately before the truck began going the opposite direction of the cars. Nick tweaked a wire he'd messed with beforehand and the truck's horn blared constantly as he drove away from them: south, to where he knew there was a border to a country called Chernarus, home of the zombie infection. Otherwise, he knew little else about it, but he gathered his gadgets, and as soon as he could, he launched three quadcopters, each about two feet long and wide and a few inches tall. Each quadcopter had a radio transceiver attached. One he sent north to hopefully get close enough to his group to let them know he was alive. The others he sent south, making sure one would be further than the other but close enough to double up in strength.

And then he heard the voices over the radio speakers...


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