Fantasy Race Series: Zombies

Starting us off today with both the series and the end of the alphabet are zombies, undead creatures who can infect the living to create more of their own. Zombies are the race to go to, these days, now that we’ve exhausted vampires for the time being. Zombies can be created through magic, through science, through disease, and here to tell us more about the undead menace (do you have your contigency plan ready for when the zombie apocalypse comes?) and how he’s twisted the cliches for his own use is Charles Muir.

Bringing the undead to life

My zombies began as most zombies do, by being dead. And as with most zombies, mine were bad at being dead. And they continued to be bad at being dead. On the plus side, that worked for my ragtag group from O.o.M.f.H. (Organization of Mercenaries for Hire), who needed things to try and kill.

My zombies evolved, devolved, and outright changed from draft one to draft ten. I tried the proper Haitian style zombie control via potions and juju, to the standard “it just happened, deal with it” style zombie, to the latest incarnation for the new age: nanite-controlled, hive-mind zombies.

Infection is via the bloodstream, primarily via a dart gun or syringe, so bites and scratches aren’t too much of a worry. Nanites self-propagate, akin to the Star Trek Borg, but don’t add any implants or unnecessary body mods. Stages start from infection, which effectively kills any living host by consuming the brain and replacing with a computer. Each zombie is then linked to all other zombies, world-wide via a wireless link and managed via a host of controllers in the HQ of E.V.I.L. (Extraordinarily Villainous Individuals League). Full infection takes 48 hours. Up to 12 hours to fully kill the body, then 24 hours to fully convert the brain, and another 12 hours to fully adapt the corpse via nanite-replaced blood.

How does one kill the already dead?

General consensus has been: remove the head and any zombie is effectively no longer a threat. Few writers ever seems to address the necessary clean up afterwards. The bodies still contain infectious materials. Cremation is a viable method of eradicating the infection, although such methods are generally hard to come by in apocalyptic scenarios.

Zombification prevention would logically involve self-defense training, firearms training, and investment in some defensive clothing that allows for movement but will prevent being eaten. If infection is through bodily fluids, generally saliva or blood, then having tear resistant clothing at the least is ideal. You don’t need to be bullet proof (although it wouldn’t hurt), but ballistics nylon-level fabric is your best bet for surviving a hoard of shambling bodies craving your grey matter.

And for those that do become infected, depending on incubation time, your options are either isolation, kamikaze, or acceptance. Isolation prevents infecting more people. Kamikaze is going out with as many infected as possible. And acceptance is biting all your friends so you’re not alone in becoming an undead abomination.

Charles Muir is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy novels infused with excessive sarcasm and author of informational works such as Word Ninja-148 pages of tips, tricks, and testimonials to get your writing written. Word Ninja is available in print and digital at: tinyurl.com/WordNinjaBook

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