Introduction

Hello dear readers,

It is my guess that some of you never heard of The Walking Dead while others wonder what The Big Bang Theory is about. TWD is about a group of people surviving in a zombie invaded world. TBBT centres around a waitress/actress named Penny and her four nerdy friends.

Sophia is a girl from TWD. She got lost in season 2 and in Brief encounter TBBT and TWD meet through her. But who will meet who? For TWD side of the crossover it is clear that Rick's group and Hershel's people must be involved. But what about the characters from TBBT? I thought of including Bernadette and Amy (who would make valuable contributions to the survival of the Pasadena gang), but I decided to use the five central characters only. My story is pre-Bernadette/pre-Amy with a twist: Penny and Leonard used to date and not long before the zombies started to walk the planet Leonard got wooed by Leslie Winkle. Penny and her men are on their way from California to Nebraska and I'm the first to say that it is illogical that they should meet Sophia who just left Atlanta but those things can happen in a story.

Brief encounter is told from Penny's point of view. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Brief encounter

Chapter 1 - Out of the blue

Penny was driving and Sheldon sat on the back of the Vespa, taking a nap. A few months ago, before it had started, she would have believed it impossible for him to sit this close to another human being. Something told her that Sheldon had learned that bodily contact was oddly reassuring. He would never admit that just as he wouldn't admit that she was in fact leading their gang. Some things just won't change and given the circumstances having Sheldon around was a blessing if only for that reason.

Penny kept an eye on the road ahead but she didn't neglect to check her mirrors even though it was just the five of them riding through the forest. Howard had reduced the sound of the engines so brilliantly that the wind murmuring in the trees deafened their passing by. Silence was a life saver.

Via her left mirror she cast a glance at Howard. When it had all been fun talk – well, for her at least – she had pictured spending 24/7 with Wolowitz. It had made her shiver. Since the day of their escape Howard hadn't made a single annoying remark though.

As a rule they drove day and night, taking small breaks in between. The digital clock on Penny's dashboard read 10:59 and that meant it was about time for the Nag moment. It took several minutes before they could stop at a spot that Penny judged to be safe.

A few days after their escape, when Sheldon had lamented their future lack of toilet paper, Penny recalled the hiking trips sheˈd made with her uncle Eric. She'd been eight years old and her uncle must have gotten fed up with her ´My feet hurt. My backpack's too heavy. I'm tired.´ Understanding that people need to voice their complaints, he'd told her that she could nag once a day, at three in the afternoon, and no more. It worked like a charm. If she got stuck by a bug, she'd know that she could complain about the itch later on. And of course at three o'clock she wouldn't even recall she was bitten.

Her present troubles weren't easy to forget and nor were those of her companions. Most of the time they didn't share their deepest worries for they all had more or less the same story to tell. The N moment was valuable though if only because Sheldon thrived on regularity.

They ate some raisins and stretched their legs.

´I will start,´ said Sheldon. ´I hate not having a bathroom. And my bowels have still not come to terms with life as a traveller.´

´I wish I could contact my family,´ Raj softly said. He had learned to talk in Penny's presence without the aid of alcohol. Penny wondered whether that was because most of the time they faced their surroundings and not each other or because she smelled less feminine these days.

´And I see some dandelion plants over there,´ Raj added, ´and I just wish we had a nice honey-mustard dressing to go with it.´

´Me too!´ Sheldon said with a sigh.

After a moment's silence Leonard spoke: ´I wanna sleep in a real bed for like a day. Just a nice bed, that's all I need. And I want to dream nice dreams, without baby monsters in it.´

´I hate this world,´ Howard said.

It was all he remarked, as usual. Penny was worried sick for him but all she said was: ´I feel dirty wearing these clothes day after day. It's disgusting.´

´Oh great,´ Sheldon said, ´Look at the sky. It's going to rain again.´

A few minutes after they'd driven on, Sheldon –who had fallen asleep again – proved right. It was just a drizzle and it didn't last long but Penny was grateful for her waterproof outfit. Raj and Leonard had done a great job as their provision officers. Back then, when they'd made a list of things to buy, it had just been a nerd thing to Penny. Something like buying a replica of Anduril.

OoOoO

´You're our best shooter Penny. I've assigned you for a course to learn how to handle various weapons,´ Sheldon told her.

When she started laughing he handed her a print-out with her training schedule for the weekend. Raj, Howard and Leonard nodded in support of Sheldon's plan.

´We've been talking about this for some time now Penny. You made me believe that you were paying attention, but I guess you were thinking of cheesecake instead. Now, the articles in The Times of India leave no doubt. Perhaps the merry reaction of Dr and Mrs Koothrappali to Raj's warning gave you the wrong impression, but this is for real! We need to speed up our preparations. For your information: we will travel on Vespa's. At first I wanted to buy a van, but these gentlemen convinced me that it would be a death trap. A Vespa will be the better choice, especially since Wolowitz managed to make it run so economically that it would reduce an oil baron to tears. Here's the driving schedule.´

´Thank you Sheldon,´ Penny said meekly as she took over the notebook Sheldon handed her. Faking surprise she remarked that Sheldon was not driving.

´I'm not the only one who isn't,´ Sheldon defended himself.

´My mother will need all her concentration just to remain seated,´ Howard commented with a shrug.

´Sheldon won't,´ Penny said in an undertone. Raj, Leonard and Howard glanced at each other. Sheldon swallowed nervously.

´We only have four drivers now Sheldon. You need to drive too if we have to make it all the way to my parental home.

´I am glad you actually heard some of what we said. I hope you've informed your relatives that we will be staying with them?

Penny had no intention of doing such an idiotic thing but she looked at Sheldon as if she was offended by his lack of trust.

´You. Need. To. Drive. Sheldon.´

Sheldon objected. He asked them to picture the danger he would inflict on them in case he would drive them out of town in the midst of an exodus.

´You won't have to drive then,´ Penny offered with a sweet smile. ´But you will drive. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few!´

´Or one,´ Sheldon added. He bowed his head in defeat.´You are right Penny.´

The others looked at her admiringly. Who would have thought, Penny said to herself, that they were a bunch of actors? Just to see how they would talk themselves out of it she inquired who would be Sheldonˈs driving instructor. They compared their schedules and at last Raj was appointed for the part.

On Saturday at seven in the morning Penny showed up at the shooting-range expecting her friends to welcome her with laughter. They weren't there. For several hours she forgot about being fooled around for she liked to shoot and fight. Her teacher, a former marine, told her she was a natural. A couple of bruises into the day the compliment lost some of its glory. The guys supposedly had their own project Z tasks but what else would they be doing but gaming in 4A? They would make fun of her on her return. She pictured Sheldon's freaky smile and Leonard's teasing eyes. Raj would giggle and Howard would be making remarks about blondes not having more fun. Feeling muscles she didn't even know she had, she came up with a plan to trick the tricksters.

OoOoO

If only we would be actors in a doomsday play, Penny mused. The director would shout ´Cut!´ and the creeps would stop moaning and have their make-up removed.

A high pitched scream reminded Penny that she could not afford to wander off.

Sheldon woke up instantly.

´Danger!´ he whispered, more to himself than to Penny. Seeing something move ahead of her, Penny stopped. The other drivers followed her lead. Raj smoothly turned around to cover their back.

There was another scream. Penny readied her hand-bow. A girl stumbled from underneath a bush, followed closely by a one-armed zombie. The creature stepped on the hem of her dress and in her fall she reached for the girl's ankle. Penny fired an arrow between the zombie's eyes.

Sheldon exhaled.

Penny rode toward the child.

´Hold Llamrei Sheldon,´ she instructed. Sheldon had insisted that the scooters would be named and though for form's sake they had opposed him, they all used the names nowadays. Penny dismounted and softly addressed the girl: ´Hi. I'm Penny. Who are you?´

´I'm So- Sophia.´

´Are you all alone?´

Eyes still wide with fear, the girl nodded.

´We'll take you with us. That's Howard,´ Penny said as she gestured toward him. ´Go and sit behind him.´

The girl just stared at her. Penny turned her back to her and pulled the arrow out of the zombie's skull.

´Now sweetie!´ she said.

The girl hasted to obey and a moment after she grabbed hold of Howard they were on their way.

Oh Jeez, Penny said to herself.