Sequel to SALVATION
Jeff Robinson sat in the chair and waited for his inevitable death. In fact he wasn’t as much sat in the chair, as strapped in. Think leather fastenings were secured tightly round his ankles, thighs, wrists, arms and waist. He looked around the empty room, moving only his eyes as his head was held firmly in place by the metal cap tightly fixed to it. It reminded him of a room where prisoners on TV shows were taken just before receiving several thousand volts in the electric chair. The irony wasn’t lost on him.
In front of him was a huge mirror. He knew it was a two-way mirror, and right now he was damn sure he was being watched. He would have died happy if he could just move his hand so he could give the middle finger to whoever was behind it.
Other than the two doors in the room there was nothing of any interest to occupy Jeff’s mind. He glanced down at the floor. The view wasn’t inspiring. The white tiles had turned a light shade of pink around the vicinity of the chair.
It must be where spilt blood has stained the tiles, Jeff thought to himself.
He looked back at the mirror, hoping to stare out whoever was staring back at him, but all he succeeded in doing was staring at his own reflection. It also didn’t help that he could make out the faint red marks of blood smeared across the reflective surface.
Maybe I should have eaten the food, he thought.He knew it was drugged, but that could have been a good thing. It could have relaxed him, or made him so out of it he wouldn’t know what was happening.
Not long ago his life had been simple. Well, as simple as it can get in a world overrun with the walking dead. He had moved from town to town, taking what he needed, when he needed it, when he could find it. He stayed away from groups as much as possible. The more people there were together the greater the risk of being noticed.
Of course, he wouldn’t have been captured if there had been someone watching whilst he slept. Taken by a group of soldiers who Jeff was sure weren’t official military, he had been placed in a prison cell with dozens of other men. They all had the same story to tell, either captured in small groups whilst scavenging, or living in secure communities until the soldiers had come and rounded them up.
There were only a few things they knew about their situation. Firstly, the women and children were not being held with them, and none of the soldiers would divulge their whereabouts. Secondly, around twice a week, one of the men, seemingly selected at random, would be asked what he wanted as his last meal. Shortly after finishing the meal he would be taken away by the soldiers and never seen again. Thirdly, there was no escape.
A couple of men had refused the last meal, aware that it was laced with something because of the effect it had on whoever ate it, but that didn’t stop the soldiers taking them anyway. It just meant they had to be more forceful when dragging them off to whatever waited down the corridor. More forceful usually meant beating the unfortunate man with batons.
Jeff had been in his cell for around two weeks. Time held no meaning when you had no access to the means to tell it. He would sleep when it was dark and wake when told to.
Finally, they had come for him. He refused the meal out of protest, and hadn’t even struggled as they carried him off, although that hadn’t stopped several hits from a soldier’s baton when it was decided he wasn’t walking fast enough.
Now here he was, strapped to a chair, in a blood-covered room, awaiting his almost certain death by means unknown, and for reasons unknown.
He really wanted to give the finger to whoever was behind that mirror.
“I hope you don’t disappoint me this time General.”
The speaker took a long draw of his cigarette before dropping the remains on the floor and grinding it under his heel. He wore a jet-black suit, with white shirt and black tie. He also wore black lens sunglasses. He had an air of importance about him, which made people aware he considered himself far more significant than anyone around him.
“The boys in the lab have assured me there will be some obvious effects this time, Sir.” replied General Baxter.
“That doesn’t fill me with confidence. An obvious effect doesn’t mean it’ll do what I asked for.”
“Turning them blue would be an obvious effect, but that doesn’t solve the problem of the walking dead.”
General Baxter laughed, stopping suddenly once he realised the man stood next to him wasn’t joking.
“Just get this farce over with so I can go back to more important matters,” the man said, his face emotionless.
The General pressed the button on the intercom in front of him and ordered the test to begin.
Both men watched as a soldier in a red biohazard suit entered the room carrying the large needled syringe that contained the serum V two-zero-four. He walked behind the man strapped to the chair and waited.
The general rubbed his chin, finding himself shocked at the amount of stubble on his face. He was so used to being clean-shaven. How long had it been now since he had deliberately looked in a mirror? Too long, that was for sure. He just couldn’t look at himself anymore. Two-zero-four. Two hundred and four people sacrificed for the sake of millions, provided there were that many people left alive in the world. Could it be there were only thousands left to save now, or even just hundreds? What if they found the solution only to discover there was no left to save.
It had been a necessity at first. He had fooled himself into thinking that they would find the solution after a few sacrifices. However you can only last so long until you realise that you are doing wrong and your guilt comes back to bite you in the ass.
The General was roused out of his thoughts by an irritated cough from the man next to him.
“Waiting on your signal, General.” said the man, with a little annoyance.
“Of course.” he replied.
General Baxter removed a walkie-talkie from his belt and pressed the call button. This was the only way to communicate with the soldier inside the biohazard suit.
“Commence experiment please.”
There was a nod from the man on the other side of the glass.
Both men had watched this dozens of times. Even though they hadn’t seen all two hundred and four tests, they were always the same. First was the swab on the back of the subject’s neck to clean the area of any possible infections, followed by the injection itself. The serum had to be pure when it entered the blood stream, without even the tiniest hint of dust, dirt or bacteria.
The soldier would then leave the room and three captured undead were let in. So far there had been no success. Each time the undead feasted on the subject and nothing happened to them except being exterminated by the soldiers afterwards.
The soldier who’d administered the injection had now left the room.
“Time to let our hungry guest’s in.” said General Baxter, this time into the room’s intercom.
A few seconds later three zombies were pushed through the second door via poles with ‘C’ shaped ends. They grasped ineffectually at their tormentors until they noticed the figure in the chair and started shambling towards the free meal.
General Baxter was impressed with the condemned man’s tenacity. He refused to scream for as long as possible, although as soon as one of the zombies ripped his ear of his head, along with a large flap of the surrounding skin, he screamed until his throat was torn out. Not for the first time General Baxter was relieved he was in a sound proof room and could only see the man opening his mouth wide, and not actually hear the noise.
It took just under 10 minutes for the zombies to devour almost all of the man. Once they had finished their meal they made their way over to the mirrored glass and vainly pawed at it. They had enjoyed the main course and now wanted the dessert on the other side.
After a few minutes of watching the undead beating on the glass, the man in the suit turned on his heel and walked towards the door.
“I am not pleased General.” he stated as he stormed out of the room, letting the door slam behind him.
The General continued to stare at the undead for a few minutes longer, hoping that something, anything, would happen. He was fast becoming an unnecessary resource. All this time spent on researching a successful means of mass elimination would soon be better spent sending men in the field to just hunt down and shoot the undead.
“Fuck!” he said to the room.
Once more he pressed the intercom on the wall.
“Three more to dispose of.”
Unlike the walkie-talkie the intercom went through to the rooms either side of the condemned mans cell, where right now, in one of them, three soldiers were waiting.
He knew what was coming next, and usually stayed to watch the zombie execution. It made him feel slightly better knowing the undead weren’t getting away with having a free meal.
As if on cue the three undead slowly turned round as the soldiers entered the room, guns drawn. General Baxter turned and started to walk out the room. As he reached the door he glanced back over his shoulder expecting to see a room with corpses laying on the floor, instead the three undead were still on their feet and shambling towards the soldiers.
The General ran through his mind what could be wrong. Each of the soldiers was armed with an MP5 and the chance of all three weapons jamming was highly unlikely. Plus each man carried a side arm, an extendable baton and a taser gun. Even if all those weapons failed on each of the soldiers, they were all highly trained in martial arts and could easily deal with three corpses or failing that they would be sensible enough to just leave the room.
With a mix of curiosity and annoyance, General Baxter marched over to the window to find out what was going on.
Of the three soldiers only one had his weapon pointed at the undead. He was down on one knee in front of the other two and swinging his gun back and forth; adjusting the height slightly each time he came to a zombie to ensure he had a clear head shot. The other two soldiers appeared to be arguing with each other.
The soldier pointing the gun was Private Bone. The two men arguing were Second Lieutenants Hawk and Griggs.
Hawk had his gun pointed at the floor and was frantically pointed at the undead, whilst mouthing words at Griggs. General Baxter was unsure if he was shouting or not.
Griggs pointed at the undead and started poking Hawk in the chest then several times in the head. Hawk backed off slapping Griggs’ hand away.
Griggs gave Hawk the middle finger and General Baxter could easily read his lips as he spoke.
“Fuck you Hawk!”
He turned from Hawk and joined Bone in pointing his gun at the undead, which were no more than a few steps from the trio of men. A look of relief crossed Bone’s face, glad of the extra support he now had.
Suddenly Hawk brought up his weapon and pointed it at Griggs. His right hand held the gun firmly, whilst with his left hand he pointed to the door. Griggs never moved his gun from the undead; he just glanced quickly to look at Hawk, before looking back at the undead. He mouthed something, which seemed to upset Hawk even more.
General Baxter could tell Hawk was now shouting, the veins in his neck standing out and spit flying from his mouth. He moved the gun closer to Griggs, almost poking him in the head with the barrel and once again pointed to the door. After a few tense seconds Griggs lowered his weapon and tapped Bone on the shoulder. The two men backed slowly out of the room finally followed by Hawk. A few seconds after the door closed the undead reached it. They scratched at the door, attempting to reach the soldiers now safely on the other side.
The General let out a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. He turned and walked to the door, confusion now completely replaced by anger. He was damn sure he was going to find out why there were still three undead in the room, and why one of his trusted soldiers had firstly disobeyed an order and secondly almost committed mutiny.
As he stomped down the corridor General Baxter could hear raised voices, and knew it was Griggs and Hawk before he even saw them.
When he rounded the corner he saw the men at the end of the corridor. They were face to face, each trying to shout the other down. He couldn’t make out the exact words but each man seemed to be very stuck on his own opinion.
Private Bone was sat on the floor to one side, trying to stay out of the way. Every so often one of the men would turn to him, seemingly asking his opinion. He would just shrug or mutter something and the two men would go back to their argument.
As the General got closer he started to make sense of the noise and could actually hear the argument. Griggs was currently putting his point of view forward.
“…pressure has finally fucking got to you, man.” he yelled.
“I know what I heard. You heard it too, no matter how much you try to deny it.”
“I heard one of the bastard things groan, like they always do.” Griggs made his point whilst poking Hawk in the chest.
“I told you once before, get your hands off me.” Hawk yelled back, slapping Griggs’ hand away for a second time. “It wasn’t a groan. I know it, you know it and Boner knows it.
Private Bone looked up at the mention of his nickname, and saw General Baxter closing the gap down the corridor. He was on his feet in seconds and pulled off a textbook salute.
“General.” he announced. His back was straight against the wall, eyes staring straight ahead.
Hawk and Griggs took a second to realise what was going on, and just managed to come to attention as General Baxter stopped a few centimetres in front of them.
“I want to know what the fuck is going on right now soldiers, and I want to know in an organised way. The first man to speak when he hasn’t been instructed to will be on trench duty for the next month, do I make myself clear?”
“Sir, yes Sir.” the three soldiers all intoned together.
General Baxter paced back and forth in front of the three men. He wanted to make them realise he wasn’t happy, but also he was trying to decide whose story to hear first. He had a feeling, even with the threat of trench duty, Hawk and Griggs would find it hard to remain silent whilst the other spoke and so decided to go with the only other option.
“Private Bone, as the only man to not fully disobey my orders I want you to tell me what happened in there.”
Private Bone was still saluting and Baxter realised he hadn’t returned the salute.
“At ease Private,” he said. “Now in your own words, what happened?”
Private Bone relaxed a little.
“Well Sir, it started off routine. We went in and the Z’s started coming for us. They were groaning as always when they see a meal, but then Second Lieutenant Hawk lowered his weapon and told us he heard one of them talk.”
“Heard it talk?”
“Thank you Private Bone.” said Baxter, turning to look at Hawk.
“And just what did it say Hawk?”
“It said ‘hello’ Sir.” replied Hawk.
Griggs coughed, which sounded suspiciously like the word “Bull Shit”. General Baxter just glared at him.
“I see. Did it say anything else?” he asked, turning back to Hawk.
“No Sir. Just ‘hello’, Sir.”
“What happened next?” asked General Baxter, now turning his attention back to Private Bone.
“Well Sir, Griggs said it was nothing and went to fire. Hawk stopped him and they argued about it for a few seconds. When Griggs went to fire again Hawk turned his weapon on him and told us to leave the room or he would shoot. We left the room and shortly afterwards you arrived.”
General Baxter walked down the line of men and looked at Griggs.
“Is what Private Bones describes an accurate report Griggs?”
“And you didn’t hear the Z speak at all?”
“No Sir. Just groans as usual Sir.”
“You could check the video recording Sir,” said Hawk.
General Baxter side stepped over to Hawk.
“What did I say about speaking out of turn Hawk?”
“Sorry Sir, but you could check the video recording to prove what I’m saying. If you find out I’m lying Sir, I will volunteer for trench duty for the rest of the time I serve with you.”
General Baxter took a step back and studied Hawk intensely. He had known the man for some time now and had never had to discipline him before. Also no one would volunteer for trench duty if they had any doubt about what they were talking about.
He finally came to a decision. Walking up and down in front of the three men he explained what would happen.
“All three of you are confined to quarters until further notice. I shall check the tapes and make my own mind up.”
He stopped in front of Hawk and lowered his voice, just a fraction.
“But if I find out you are lying to me Hawk I will come up with a punishment that will make trench duty will seem like a day at the beach I promise you.”
Baxter turned and marched off down the corridor.
“Dismissed!” he shouted over his shoulder as he turned the corner.
A few days later General Baxter had gathered the four head scientists and the black suited man together in the main meeting room.
Five of the six men sat around a polished wooden table. The four scientists sat two each side of the table and General Baxter sat at the head. A portable TV hooked up to an old VCR sat in the space at the other end opposite the General. A tape sat half out of the VCR. The man in the suit stood in the corner of the room smoking a cigarette.
After everyone had got comfortable, and settled down, General Baxter stood up.
“Gentlemen, we have made a discovery. It seems serum V two-zero-four has had an effect on the undead. Now it’s not what we were expecting, but it could prove to be the turning point in winning this war.”
He started walking slowly around the table, hands clasped behind his back.
“I would like to show you the tape of what happened in yesterday’s final experiment. Now only Dr Blake and I have been present during the tests, but let me assure what you are about to see is one hundred percent real and a good example of what happened to each test subject.”
The statement was more for the benefit of the man in corner then the other three scientists. He was the one to impress, and at last General Baxter had a chance to do that.
“Dr Williams, Dr Zen and Dr Green, although you contributed work to each of the V serums, none of your work would be viable on its own. Only when the individual results are combined do we see a result, which is why I wanted you to be here. After seeing the results you may be able to improve it.”
He reached the TV and pushed the tape fully into the VRC player.
Quickly walking back to where he was originally sat General Baxter continued to the wall and turned the lights off. He sat back down and pressed the play button on a remote control. All eyes were on the TV screen, which jumped into life.
Static filled the small screen for a few seconds until a couple of black horizontal lines appeared followed swiftly by a black and white picture.
The angle of the shot showed the camera was positioned in the corner of a room, pointing down towards the centre.
In the middle of the image there was a female figure strapped into a chair. It became quickly obvious to the assembled men that the image shown was the room where the experiments took place. The main difference being, instead of a human strapped into the chair, it was in fact a zombie.
She was naked, her greying skin covered in dark black blotches. A large portion of her right hand side was missing, a couple of lower ribs clearly showing at the top of the gap.
“This Z is around 3 months old, from what we can tell.” said General Baxter. “We wanted to make sure that what was about to happen couldn’t be dismissed because the Z was recently deceased.”
Another figure appeared on the screen. He looked up at the camera and the group recognised him as Dr Blake, one of the four scientists sat around the table.
He glanced down at his watch then back up at the camera.
“This is Dr Blake,” the figure on the screen said. “It is now fourteen hundred hours, give or take a minute. This is our tenth test of serum V two-zero-four and if it is successful it will mean a continued one hundred percent success rate. We have used different ages, sexes and death ages to make sure of a statistically even spread.”
With that he turned away from the camera and walked towards the zombie strapped into the chair. Its sunken eyes followed the doctor as he walked whilst its mouth moved in a vain attempt to bite him, despite him still being several feet away.
“As you can see,” said Dr Blake, turning back towards the camera, “the subject is fully restrained and conscious, in its own way of course.”
The doctor moved out of the camera shot and a few seconds’ later two soldiers in red biohazard suits appeared. They were dragging a man between them. He wore a white, sleeveless jumpsuit and his mouth was covered by a gag, presumably to stop him screaming.
All over the jumpsuit were various belts and straps, which secured the man to two metal poles, one running vertically down his back, the other horizontally across his shoulders. The effect was to hold the man in a ‘T’ shape.
Although it was a futile effort the man still struggled as much as he was able.
“Please pause it there General.” said the suited man from the corner of the room.
The screen froze but for two wavy lines in the middle of the picture.
“Why wasn’t that man sedated? Or for that matter why wasn’t he secured to the chair?”
“Well Sir, the first time we saw the results of serum V two-zero-four the test subject had refused the drugged food. It’s possible this was a factor in its success. Secondly in order to properly examine the Z we need it to be secure after it has consumed the virus. It works out easier if it is secure from the start.”
“Very good General, please continue.”
General Baxter pressed the play button and the picture jumped back into motion. The soldiers continued to manhandle the struggling man towards the zombie. When they were just a few feet away one of the soldiers gripped the condemned mans wrist, whilst walking behind the seated zombie. Once there was a soldier either side of the zombie they moved the held mans arm towards the zombie’s waiting mouth.
As soon as it was able the zombie took a massive bite from the arm, just below the elbow.
A couple of the scientists watching the video winced at the sight of freshly torn flesh and muscle. Blood dripped from the ragged hole and the zombie’s mouth simultaneously, pooling around the chair legs.
Even though he was gagged the cries of the man could clearly be made out in the silence of the room.
The zombie went back for another bite, followed by another. It chewed its way up and down the arm as much as its restrained head would allow, like it was eating corn on the cob. Every few bites the soldiers would move the arm a little to the left or right so uneaten flesh was exposed to the zombie.
By the fourth bite the man still had not passed out despite there being hardly anything left of the arm, except a hand attached to the lower half of the elbow by a bone and a few bits of flesh.
The front of his white jumpsuit was covered in yellow vomit that had soaked through the man’s gag, mixing with the splattered blood from his all but destroyed arm.
Choking on the bile trapped in his mouth the man finally passed out as the zombie took a few last bites of the remaining flesh.
The unconscious mans limp body was dragged off screen by the two soldiers as the zombie chewed its final mouthful of flesh.
The image of General Baxter appeared on the screen. He slowly walked up the restrained zombie and stopped a few feet in front of it, hands crossed in front of his chest.
“Hello.” he said.
The zombie carried on chewing, but looked up.
“Do you know where you are?” he continued.
“Give it a few more minutes General,” said Dr Blake from off camera.
Finally the zombie finished chewing and continued to stare at General Baxter.
Nothing happened for several minutes, and then its eyes cleared slightly and it spoke.
“Where am I?” asked the zombie. The voice was croaky and gruff, spoken through dry, cracked lips, but also monotone and flat.
There was a collective gasp from the other three scientists watching the video. They started talking amongst themselves and trying to question Dr Blake.
“Silence!” ordered the suited man.
“You’ve been attacked my dear.” continued the on screen General. “Do you remember?”
“Have you seen my husband or children?” the zombie continued, either ignoring the question or not hearing it. It started to look around the room.
“Do you miss them?”
“No. They were with me a few minutes ago. We were running from a man for some reason.”
“Can you tell me your name?” asked the General.
It didn’t answer; she just kept looking around the room.
“Look at me!” ordered the General.
The zombie’s head snapped round to look at the General.
“Good. Now, tell me your name.”
“Jane.” said the zombie. “My name is Jane.”
“How do you feel Jane? Are you hungry at all?”
“No. Not hungry. Not anything. Why am I naked? What’s happening?” Even though it asked questions its voice didn’t change, as though it wasn’t actually interested in the answer.
The zombie started shifting around against it restraints.
“Please sit still Jane. I don’t want you to hurt yourself. Don’t be scared”
Jane sat still.
“I’m not scared.” She said. “I don’t feel anything.”
The General turned away from Zombie Jane and made a cutting motion across his throat. Seconds later the TV screen filled with static before going black.
General Baxter stood up and switched on the lights. Almost immediately the scientists all started talking at once.
“Gentlemen, if could please be patient a little longer we will answer any questions soon. First Dr Blake will explain what he believes is happening here.”
The three scientists quietened down a little but continued to whisper to each other as Dr Blake stood up.
He was a middle-aged man with a horseshoe of white hair around the top of his head. Small half circle glasses sat on the end of a wide nose. Like the other three scientists he wore a long white lab coat with a few pencils sticking out of his left breast pocket.
He shuffled some papers in front of him and cleared his throat.
“General, esteemed colleagues and… erm…”
Dr Blake had nodded at each of the people as he spoke until he came to the man in the black suit.
The man took a long draw on the fresh cigarette he was now smoking.
“You may refer to me as Agent Carter.” he said, blowing the smoke out in one long breath.
“Very well.” said Dr Blake. “General, esteemed colleagues and Agent Carter, as you are aware we have been working for several months on a antivirus that will kill the dead virus that reanimates dead tissue and has lead to this plague of walking corpses. Well it seems we have been wasting our time.”
Once again there were some whispered questions between the three other scientists. Dr Blake continued, talking over them.
“Our original plan was to create a virus that we would inject into a live subject. The virus would work its way through the blood stream, into the oxygen and work its way to the brain. There it would develop a taste for brain tissue. Shortly after this we would somehow transfer it into the undead, preferably not via a bite, although that was how we first started. Now we wanted to develop this virus with a low tolerance to the human immune system, so that it could last an hour, maybe two in the human body before it was destroyed. This way any human infected with the new virus would suffer no ill effects, but seeing as the dead have no immune system that we know of, any virus that entered their system would have nothing to stop it.”
“But the dead have no blood flow Doctor. How would the virus move around an undead body?” asked Agent Carter.
“Good question. Once the virus found a taste for brain tissue in the original host’s body it would seek it out automatically if it entered a new body. There is still a blood like liquid in the undead body and veins to carry it, so the virus would still have a way to the brain. In basic terms it would walk down the highway instead of hitching a lift. It’s why we need to use live subjects to start with. If the virus was injected into a dead body it may not find the brain.”
“I see. Please continue.”
“Thank you. This new virus would attack the undead brain until eventually it had destroyed enough of it to render the victim officially dead, for as we know the only way to put a zombie down for good is to destroy the brain. Now what we have discovered, thanks to the recent tests, is that the virus that causes the dead to rise is in fact more of a parasitic virus. It actually takes over the host as opposed to killing it. For what end we do not yet know. Our new virus, V two-zero-four, decided it preferred the taste of parasite to brain tissue and started only attacking the parts of the brain directly controlled by it. Due to this we have discovered that the consciousness of the original host is not destroyed when they become these zombie creatures. Instead it seems it is simply pushed back into an area of the brain and lays dormant, in an almost coma like state.”
Dr Blake held for dramatic purposes and it paid off, as there were more gasps from one or two of the assembled scientists.
“Eight of the ten subjects we tested had no memory of being attacked, becoming zombies or their time as a zombie; however the other two could remember everything.”
Once again he paused, this time there were a few cries of dismay.
“Do you mean they were consciously in control?” asked Dr Green.
“No Dr Green. In their own words they could see and hear what was going on but had no control over their own body. They were like the passenger in a car, unable to affect the driver in anyway.”
“Do we know why those two had a different experiences to the others?” asked Dr Zen
“Again, no. It may just be they had a stronger will power than the others. Maybe they refused to accept they were dying after they were bitten. Maybe the parasitic virus wasn’t as pure in their bodies as others.”
“Wasn’t as pure?” asked Agent Carter.
“From what I have surmised, the parasite needs several weeks to fully control a host depending on the body and amount of infection. Imagine a single small bite on a healthy host. He or she would turn into a zombie in maybe twenty-four to forty-eight hours. This is the parasite taking control. Once in control it needs time to fully develop. Now if the host takes a bite out of someone else as soon as it has turned then some of the parasite is transferred into a new host. The old parasite needs to regenerate. It’s like giving blood. You can only do it once every few weeks, as you need time to make new blood. It’s why I believe some zombies are able to use basic tools, or why several will congregate in certain areas. We always just assumed it was a base memory, but it could in fact be the original hosts trying to assert some control again.”
“So those who remember their time as a zombie could have been bitten by a recently animated corpse, and so the parasite was in effect still growing,” said Agent Carter.
“Exactly Agent Carter. The body was strong enough to try to fight back but still ultimately lost. However the parasite wasn’t strong enough to fully subdue the consciousness.”
“Let me see if I have this correct,” said Agent Carter, walking to table and leaning on it. He looked Dr Blake in the eyes. “We inject a living subject with a virus, which attacks brain matter. This virus is then transferred into an undead subject. The virus destroys the part of the undead brain that is under the influence of a parasitic virus, allowing the original host to re-emerge and once again control their own actions.”
“Essentially, yes.” replied Dr Blake, a smile on his face. “Although now we know the virus works, I shall be working on a way to transfer it from the host to the undead without the need to sacrifice any more living beings. The only side effect is the re-born human is like an empty shell. No emotions of any kind. They care for, and about nothing and have no needs or desires. They don’t even have any basic concept of hot or cold. But they do seem to obey any order they are given. This may have something to do with the parasitic virus eliminating the part of the brain that controls independent thought, however without more research it is only a theory at the moment.”
Agent Carter stood up and slowly walked to the door.
“Gentlemen, ask your questions.” he said to the other scientists. “General Baxter, please come with me.”
With that agent Carter left the room.
As General Baxter followed him he heard the scientist fire their barrage of questions at Dr Blake and was glad he didn’t have to sit and listen to the long winded, and no doubt confusing, answers.
“If the virus is located in the brain how does it transfer to the undead through a bite to any other part of the body?”
“What happened to the ten test subjects and the people who were bitten in order to transfer the new virus?”
“If the virus can only be stopped by the immune system will these resurrected people be able survive it?”
General Baxter followed agent Carter down the corridor into another meeting room. Neither man spoke as they walked. As they entered the room Agent Carter sat down at the small table and gestured for the General to join him.
“I know it’s not exactly what you wanted Sir, but it’s a start,” said General Baxter.
“General it’s better than I could have hoped for. Your scientists have just given me a way to create almost invincible soldiers,” replied Agent Carter.
General Baxter looked at the man in confusion. For the first time he could remember, Agent Carter was smiling and it wasn’t a nice sight. It reminded him of a shark about to eat its prey.
“I’m not sure I follow you Sir.” General Baxter said.
“It’s simple; we infect a few of our best soldiers with the zombie virus, or parasite if that’s what you want to call it, then cure them with the vaccine. We then have a group of soldiers who can only be killed by a headshot. They won’t be scared to walk into a zombie infested town and since they’re undead the zombies won’t attack them. They can simply kill them all without danger. Add to that there is no need to feed or water them, they don’t get tired or feel the heat or cold, hell they have no feelings whatsoever and obey without question. Soon we’ll have destroyed every undead in this area, then the State and eventually the country. We finally have our super soldiers General.”
“But Sir, with what we now know how can we possibly kill these…these… infected people? The fact that they are still alive inside those bodies changes everything.”
Agent Carter shot to his feet and slammed his hands hard on the table.
“It changes nothing!” he roared.
In the space of a few seconds General Baxter had seen Agent Carter go from smiling to showing pure rage. It was a shock, as he had never seen him show any emotion at all before today.
“The undead almost rule this world and it is time we took it back,” continued Agent Carter, slightly calmer now. “This now gives us an edge we didn’t have before. We have just evened the playing field.”
“I can’t condone this new course of action Sir. We have the means to help these people. We can cure the world.”
“You surprise me General. I seem to recall a time, not too long ago, when you said you would be willing to sacrifice every man, woman and child to end the zombie menace.”
“Yes I did say that, and I stand by it, but we now have a way to end it without sacrificing anymore people. In fact we can end it and save lives at the same time.”
“This is war General, and in war there are casualties. As far as I’m concerned those people are already dead.”
Agent Carter started pacing back and forth in front of General Baxter.
“How many of them do you think will thank you if they have to live the rest of their lives with the memory of killing and eating their families and friends? How many will be happy to live with bite marks all over their bodies or even large parts of themselves missing?”
He stopped pacing and placed both hands back on the table, leaning into the Generals face and staring into his eyes.
“How do you think the living survivors will react to being asked to share their world with the very killers who forced them to fight for their right to live?”
General Baxter met Agent Carters gaze and slowly rose to his feet.
“You said it yourself; the ones we bring back will have no emotions at all. It may be harsh but they won’t care for their dead friends or family and they won’t have any feelings about the shape of their bodies. And as for the living, well, they will just have to adjust to these new events, as we all will Agent. The human race is very adaptable. We adjusted to this current situation, in time we will learn to adjust to a new one”
With that the General turned around and started to walk away.
“I will not help you kill these people if we can save them, not anymore.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way General. But I’m sure I can change your mind.”
“I very much doubt that Agent. You see…”
The General was unconscious before he hit the ground
Agent carter slipped the taser back in his pocket and stood over the Generals body.
“In fact General Baxter I promise you I can change your mind.”
General Baxter slowly opened his eyes and looked into the face of Agent Carter, who stood a few feet away from him. He realised he was strapped into a chair.
“Welcome back General Baxter,” said Agent Carter. “How do you feel?”
“I feel… I feel nothing,” replied General Baxter flatly.
“Do you know me General?”
“Yes, you are Agent Carter.”
“Correct. Do you hate me?”
The General knew he should hate this man, but he didn’t. In fact he didn’t hate anything. Or for that matter he didn’t like anything either.
It was an odd feeling. No not feeling, not even a sensation. It was like having a memory which you couldn’t quite remember. You knew it was there, but every time you thought about it, it faded to nothing.
“So you will do what I order?” asked Agent Carter.
“My original orders were to follow your command so I will.” replied General Baxter.
“Excellent,” said Agent Carter, showing his shark like smile. “Then as soon as we get you out of that chair I shall introduce you to your new squad. I want you to start your new mission ASAP. The sooner I have this town under my command the sooner I can start saving the world.”