The Party returns to the sleepy town and apprises them of the recent events in Bend. They offer their services to Postmaster via a letter endorsed by Adele Thompson.
About a week goes by and a letter returns offering the party positions as Special Postal Assistants on temporary assignment. They are not to wear any official markings until such a time as they are officially sworn in, but they should retain the letter as proof of their station. The letter goes on to describe their first task: A postal representative, Jayson Warton from Cottage Grove was sent into the northeast region above Bend to find any settlements willing to join the postal route. He is feared dead. Reported settlements are Sisters, Prineville, and Warm Springs. The party is to establish contact with the settlements, encourage them to join the postal route and inquire about Jayson Warton. The letter is signed by the postal inspector Gordon Krantz and marked with official stamps of the US Postal Service.
The Party heads straight to Sisters and manages an invitation into the fortified town center by dropping Gus Torgland’s name. They find Gus recovering from his wounds received during the Twin Pines Shootout. He treats them well and introduces them to Bill Kezner who in turn agrees to present their offer to join the postal route before the town elders. The elders turn down the proposal.
No one actually enters the town, but find shelter in Carp’s Salvage outside the walls. Carp’s huge warehouses are full of scavenged items. Old Hoffman Carp relates that no one has been seen in Warm Springs since the Ruin, let alone a settlement. The Party trades for some much needed ammunition and heads off to Prineville. Carp confirms that Jayson Warton came through Redmond and Carp’s Salvage is now a postal office.
The Party endures some inclement weather and reaches the small farm community. Poorly equipped to defend themselves, these farmers fall prey to frequent bandit raids during the harvest season. Most residents are leery of the Party. Only Donald Fry comes forward to talk and nominally accepts the offer to join the postal route though he does not know anyone to contact outside of Prineville. He seems eager to trade for arms and other defensive items.
The Party arrives in Madras just south of Warm Springs. They find the fortified settlement abandoned with minor signs of struggle. They bed down for the night only to be awoken by gun shots in the nearby ruins. A cautious investigation finds a lone survivor steadfastly defending his garage from attackers. The Party takes up the fight only to find the attackers are “zombies” (as C.W. calls them). Again unscathed, the Party returns to the town center to find their equipment in shambles as they didn’t lock the gate when they left. A zombie horde surprises the Party. Only minor wounds are sustained and no one seems to have been bitten.
The following day the Party sets out to find the source of the zombies. Tracks in the area seem to indicate a large concentration of walking-dead in an auditorium and a high school gymnasium. Additional tracks crisscross the area, with only a small radio station building standing out as a destination.