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I don’t know what I expected. Before I got to New Bunker I had a remarkably unassailable history of prescience when it came to most things. The dead walked the Earth and the bombs fell and stripped away mankind’s humanity. So went most nuance and subtlety. Complexities of the human condition were torn away and a savagely predictable sort of person was born.
It was easy enough, knowing someone’s needs and desires to take those elements and predict their reactions. What would fire them up. What would calm them down.
The existence of this video, by all accounts, should have Vincent Conroy well fired up. Instead, he sits calmly at his desk, hands gripping the armrest in a state of half alertness. The look on his face contemplative, if not introspective.
One can’t help but expect more when presenting the reality of the greatest sins of human history. I can’t tell you just what I expected, but it was definitely more.
The room is eerily silent. The man with the skeleton face and his goon stand silently and Vincent watches. Only his own voice, recorded decades earlier, detailing the nature of his experiments is heard. I’ve got nowhere to go. The big man blocking the only exit from the office. I’m familiar enough with the number of guards we passed on the way up here to know that even if I did attempt an escape, it would be short lived. There was nothing I could do but watch.
The year was 2099 and for all of humanity’s advances, the last century had taken its toll. For every advancement in medicine, every achievement in technology was seemingly accompanied by some drastic step backwards. The climate had irreversibly shifted, overpopulation a growing concern. Administering the cures we had developed to our own brethren proving impossible. The science had been developed to allow for a permanent departure from non-renewable energy sources, but the corporations and conglomerates prevented the propagation of it. It was nightmarish. We had every tool necessary to right the floundering spaceship and our own toxic greed was such that we could not forge ahead.
The 4th World War was inevitable. And for once (as we now are well aware) the promise of “the war to end all wars” would be true. Because what would be left would barely be capable of fighting.
For 5 years the number of skirmishes increased drastically, each a more heated “hot zone” than the last. Each violent outbreak closer to the supposed “untouchable” countries that had enjoyed a sort of peace for the better part of 150 years.
Finally, with Europe and North America fully submerged in violence, The New Soviet Protectorate finally greenlit the Reanimated Human Weaponization Project headed by Dr. Vincent Conroy. The plan, in their eyes, was perfect.
A new type of solider, who with every kill, could increase your manpower. Enter the walking dead, enter the zombie. Dead flesh given unlife, with an infectious bite that would spread into its victim. Each enemy a zombie killed would join the NSP’s ranks of undead.
The best part? They were engineered to have an “auto-pilot” of sorts. Drawn to the smell of death, particularly “fresh” death. The reduced brain functions of the zombie were simple enough. They would herd together, and they would head towards the warzone. Hundreds, if not thousands, of zombies could be counted on to march relentlessly for miles from one battleground to the next, growing their numbers as needed.
But wait, I know what you’re thinking (there’s that prescience again). You’re thinking (and rightly) that no zombie you’ve ever encountered has that “killer instinct”. Just several months ago I proved the theory by wandering through a horde of them with nothing but zombified gore hiding my lifelike nature. Zombies only seem to become enraged when in extremely close proximity to the living, springing to hungry aggression when they are within 2 to 3 feet away from a living soul. That doesn’t seem effective, does it? A single mounted machinegun could just blast away at the horde and mow them down by the thousands.
So how did they overrun an entire continent (if not the entire planet)?
Conroy programmed his creations to respond to a particular frequency. A high pitched, piercing scream of tone that would trigger the violent frenzy of the zombie at will. Any zombie hearing that tone would transform instantly from that slow, shambling corpse that we’ve all grown so adept at avoiding into that flesh hungry killing machine the unlucky of us have witnessed when living flesh gets too close to its undead counterpart.
These “frenzied” zombies would tear into anything and everything with all their undead relentlessness, scaling walls, smashing through fortifications and spreading their infection to any human in their path. A squad of dozens would become hundreds and thousands as they ripped through a city with maniacal savagery.
That was how the cities fell. Stealth drones from the NSP would trigger the frequency from the skies, avoiding detection and the zombies would shred urban centers to pieces.
It all spiraled out of control faster than anyone had dared imagine. Conservative numbers that I managed to dig up had 50% of the entire North American population zombified within the first few weeks of the RHWP being unleashed upon its shores. Less conservative figures put that percentage closer to 75%.
Given the situation, I don’t full blame whoever made the decisions to drop the bombs. The major urban areas were totally overrun. Whoever was still alive inside would be dead sooner or later anyhow.
And so the government dropped bombs, the likes of which the world hadn’t seen since Japan over 150 years prior, on its own people. Something to stop the spread.
The longstanding “nuclear truce” was broken. And you’d better believe that if the American government was willing to nuke their own, they were sure as hell going to nuke their enemies. The rest you probably know, or at least you can figure it out.
But here he is. The man who started it all, Vincent Conroy.
The footage finally comes to an end with the chilling footage of a dozen or so shambling monsters encroaching on a small village in Eastern Europe and Conroy remains, as ever, utterly unphased by the atrocities he is responsible for.
I see the Skeleton Man move from the corner of my eye, his bony hands are fiddling with some sort of device, a transmitter of some kind by the looks of it. Looks like we’re not just done with our revelations here yet.
The screen flickers to some camera mounted in one of the town squares of New Bunker. The violence has stopped. All eyes are fixed onto the same screens that Conroy had used not two days ago to broadcast the execution of Pruitt and The Banker. The same footage he has just seen now playing on the screens for the city to see. His dark secret laid bare for his people to witness.
And there it is. There’s the reaction. His eyes widen. His teeth clench. He’s been had.
Barely audible is the sound, that high pitched buzzing that incites violent eruption within the undead. It’s unmistakable to his trained ear.
His eyes find the Skeleton Man, uncertain of if this betrayal is by his hand.
“What the fuck is the meaning of this?”
The vengeance of the living and madness of the dead is about to boil over.
Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.