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Cost Of Doing Business

By:Jake Bible

Cost Of Doing Business
Author:Jake Bible



 

Prologue

Part One- The Virus

It would be decades after the restructuring of humansociety before records were found declaring that the virus thatcaused the zombie apocalypse was not the first. It wasn't even thesecond.

According to scientific records, there had been at leastfour earlier outbreaks of related viruses. Government organizationshad been successful in all cases until the final virus. Prevailingtheory was the virus's mutations finally outran the scientists.

The final mutation was all the virus needed to survive.

It is unknown how many people were spreading the virusamong the world's population before the first carrier died andre-animated.

***

It is believed that every member of the human speciesbecame a dormant carrier of the virus. Thus, every human that diedcame back as a re-animated corpse. No cure could be found, norecourse.

However, worse than the fact that people knew their bodywould come back as a voracious nightmare, was the discovery that abite from a zombie would mean death and re-animation within 24 hours.


And that those bitten became contagious within twelvehours, infecting friends, family, co-workers, anyone they in turnbit.

And bite, they did. No exceptions, no remorse, noreasoning.

Madness was unleashed.

***

Only one thing could be confirmed regarding the virus:everyone infected became a zombie.

No one was spared. No matter what anti-viral drugs wereused, immuno-suppressants, gene therapies, nothing worked. Nothingeven slowed it down.

Once the living died it took less than twenty minutesfor the corpse to re-animate with only two things on its mindlessbrain: kill and eat.

Killing seemed to be its first priority. Feeding wouldnot distract the virus driven undead from their need to kill. Toomany citizens learned the hard way, thinking a zombie was distractedby flesh; thinking they had a chance.

***

The zombies the virus created were not shuffling, footdraggers, but active, homicidal, very hungry re-animated corpses benton killing every human they could and feasting on their flesh. Theywere unbelievably strong and fast.

They were driven to kill, first and foremost. Thisinsured the supreme dominance of the virus.

Feeding was secondary. And feeding on fresh flesh wasthe key. While never proven substantially, the belief was that thezombie was able to feed off the energy still stored. Old, decaying,rotten flesh was of no interest to the zombies. Thus they did notfeed off each other.


***

The zombie physiology differed greatly from its originalhuman form. No longer were organs needed for survival, since theycould not digest or process what they caught.

All energy, all sustenance went into building andmaintaining connective tissues.

While bones could not be reset, they could be healed,the break fusing and strengthening. Tendons, cartilage, ligaments andmuscle could be rebuilt and re-grown. As long as the zombie fed, thezombie stayed fit and deadly.

This was another triumph of the virus. It gave thezombies a sense of self, a reason to fight, to kill, to feed. Tosurvive.

***

The virus learned and encouraged learning.

It had the potential to allow its victims, the zombiehordes, to process, store and analyze information. It was a strippeddown, simplistic way of reasoning, but the zombies could think andlearn.

They learned to hunt in packs. They learned to split up,to surround their prey, to actively catch their victims instead ofjust running them down.

They learned to listen, to smell, to watch.

They learned to be predators, not just scavengers.

Worst of all, they learned their limitations andadjusted accordingly.


The fast pursued, the slow waited, the broken hid.

***

The speed with which the virus took control of a deadbody astonished the doctors and researchers assigned to find thecure. In minutes their test subjects would go from corpse to zombie,ready to kill, eat and kill some more.

Too many lab assistants and eminent scientists losttheir lives by underestimating the power and scope of the virus. Soonmany of the researchers became the researched. Their re-animatedcorpses dissected and studied using protocols and procedures theythemselves had created.

By the time the virus was isolated nearly half theworld's population had succumbed.

The other half cowered.



 

Part Two- Society Re-born

Population centers were the first to go. The density ofpeople made it impossible to control the spread of the virus. Withinmonths both the East and West coasts were lost.

Communication with Europe, Asia, the Middle East andother world regions soon amounted to sporadic info bursts from shortwave stations. Eventually, those too ceased.

The seat of power was moved to deep within the ColoradoRockies. What was NORAD became the United Defense Council.


The UDC hunkered down and waited, issuing surgical,tactical strikes to the former great cities of the nation.

Most of the country became uninhabitable.

***

Nuclear cleansing was the only option for manypopulation centers. Up and down the East and West coast, and placesin between, cities were laid to waste, their poison scoured from theplanet.

New York, LA, Chicago, DC, Atlanta, San Diego, Seattle,Denver, Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, Miami. All gone.

What was left of the country was called the wasteland.

For several generations, human kind became hermits,forced into indoor seclusion to avoid the toxic air and rains thatswept through.

When they emerged and the rolling skies didn't produceboils and blisters upon their exposed skin, they found themselveslost.

***

The wasteland: deadly gas clouds, acid rain, freakmega-storms, earthquakes, scorched earth. This was what the humanrace had to fight through to survive.

Before the city/states, many survivors lived in caves;burrowed under buildings, adding basement levels as needed; foundsanctuaries in the mountains.

Even fighting for their lives, they still fought topreserve history and society.


When they did emerge, they brought their memories withthem. But, those memories were just that, memories. Not instructions,not plans, not a future.

The UDC gave them all of that.

And for their trouble, the UDC only asked for completeloyalty.

***

Human civilization and society had never been aboutmoney, race, gender, looks or even power. It had always been aboutclass.

When society finally started to pull itself backtogether after the first dark years of the zombie virus, it pulleditself along class lines.

Small city/states formed, walls went up, armamentsplaced. It became the battle of the urban vs. the rural all overagain.

Once those left outside realized they had beenabandoned, it was almost too late.

Some pockets survived, but most didn't.

The brutal took control and ruled.

As much inside the walls as outside them.

***

Frontier Town. Adventure Land. Six Flags. Windy City.Foggy Bottom.

These were the city/states left under UDC control.


Each had its own set of laws, ruling structures,police/security forces, judicial systems. Each survived alone, ontheir own resources and the energies of their respective populations.But, the final word on all matters of survival came from the UDC.They had the troops, the guns, the bombs, the technology toeffectively hold back the zombies roaming the wasteland.

There were many more city/states at one time, but mostignored the UDC, choosing to make their own way.

They chose certain death.

***

Even with the small size of the city/states, all it tookwas one or two deceased to get over looked and an epidemic quicklyspread within the walls.

The Reaper chip became a necessity for human survival.And the UDC controlled the chip's application with an iron fist.

Thus the UDC ignored the rural survivor pockets andfocused on the main centers of population. This left the survivors onthe outside of the walls to fend for themselves, to develop their ownwarning systems and protocols.

Mix rural fear with religious zealotry and a new scourgewas born: the Cults.

***

Basic trade routes were established quickly between thecity/states, each sending out heavily armed convoys through thewasteland that separated human society.

In the beginning, the losses that resulted from thesetrading expeditions were worth it. Resources were scarce and eachcity/state seemed to have many strengths, but no single city/statecould provide everything for its populace.


However, once the Cults figured out the armed convoys'trade schedules, the losses soon outweighed any benefits.Communication and physical trade between the city/states dwindleduntil each became their own self-sufficient fiefdom.

Those that dared to trade did so at their own risk.

***

The Cults only believed their people should be allowedto live. All others were heathens and infidels; the very reason thevirus was brought upon humanity.

Those survivors that were unfortunate enough to crosspaths with the Cults met with ends some said were a million timesworse than being eaten alive by a horde of zombies.

Tales of vivisection, cannibalism, being burnt alive,weeks of rape and mutilation, were spread through the slow grapevinethat worked the land. Often by the time a message reached a smallgroup, it was too late to flee; the Cults were upon them.



 

Part Three- Warnings And Weapons

The UDC realized they needed two things to survive:better warning and better weapons.

They already had the weapons. Technology that was on thedrawing board before the zombie apocalypse decimated the earth, wasstill viable. The mechs. Massive, armored combat robots designed tofit around a human pilot and mimic the pilot's every move andaction. However, there were design flaws with the control interface.


Developing the warning wasn't very hard. The Reaperchip came about in a burst of brilliance.

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