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Zombie Me: Patchwork and Pieces

Chapter 1: Part 1, Litany of Rot

Chapter 1: Part 2, Shattered

Chapter 1: Part 3, Growling with Hunger

Chapter 1: Part 4, Vion Rising

Chapter 1: Part 5, Stand Off

Chapter 1: Part 6, The Call

Chapter 1: Part 7, Free Association

Chapter 1: Part 8, First Taste

Chapter 1: Part 9, Bert and Ernie

Chapter 1: Part 10, Starting to Rain

Chapter 2: Part 1, "Me!"

Chapter 2: Part 2, C.A.B.L.E.T.V.

Chapter 2: Part 3, Raining

Chapter 2: Part 4, Sheltered Hunger

Chapter 2: Part 5, Clouded Eye Open

New short story "The Awakening"

Chapter 2: Part 6, Everything Yet Nothing

Chapter 2: Part 7, The Cheshire Smile

Chapter 2: Part 8, Cacophony of Fists

Chapter 2: Part 9, Still Born

Chapter 2: Part 10, Empty Nest

Chapter 3: Part 1, False Rescue, Hidden Hope

Chapter 3: Part 2, The Process

Review of Brainchild... A collection of Artifacts

Chapter 3: Part 3, Psuedo Life

Chapter 3: Part 4, Wayward Derelicts

Chapter 3: Part 5, The Cleaners

Chapter 3: Part 6 The Corridor

Chapter 3: Part 7, Echoes of Death

Chapter 3: Part 8, The Road Kill Machine

Chapter 3: Part 9, Fixed Lividity

New short story "Alone in the Woods"

Chapter 3: Part 10, Fire Within

Chapter 4: Part 1, Eye of the Beholder

Chapter 4: Part 2, Home

New - Character Sketches

Chapter 4: Part 3, Dead Inside

Chapter 4: Part 4, Dead Soldiers

Chapter 4: Part 5, Kill Switch

Chapter 4: Part 6, The Call Part 2

Chapter 4: Part 7, The Key

Chapter 4: Part 8, Reunion

Chapter 4: Part 9, Unleashed


2005/05/19

Chapter 1: Part 10, Starting to Rain

Hans had been waiting in his office for two hours, why did they have me come in at 10:30 at night just to make me wait? He thought of the horror movie marathon that he had been watching earlier at his home in Acton. Well it's not like I was doing anything great anyways. Sitting at his desk his thumb worried the leather edge of his desk set. He scanned beyond the border of where the dark green leather mat met with the deep cherry of the lacquered wood beneath it. He continued to follow the grain of the wood and stopped at a single picture of Dora that sat alone on the far left corner of his desk. Like a snapshot of time it brought him back to the day they were married. Her face radiated purity and a calming innocence that would always soothe him just as it did now. He booted up his computer and tried to log in to the network. Each time he tried the prompt would return the message "Invalid User: See system administrator".

His phone rang and he looked to see who it was on his VOIP display. He wondered why Eric was calling so late as he picked up the receiver. "Hello Eric, this is Hans."

"Hans. Sorry to bother you this late, I hope I didn't wake you." Eric's usually light tone had a sense of urgency to it as he spoke. "I was calling to see if you knew what was going on at the labs tonight?"

"I am actually at the office right now, I've forwarded my calls. Raimi Walters phoned me this evening and wanted me to come in. He wouldn't say what it was about, only that it was important." Hans' hand lightly stroked his thick grey beard. "Why do you ask? Have you heard anything?"

"Raimi called me about an hour ago and said the same thing but wouldn't go into any detail. Listen, I'll be there in about five minutes. Meet me in the atrium, O.K." Eric didn't wait for any acknowledgement before he hung up the cell.

Hans sat there for a minute after the line went dead and pondered this new event. Why would Raimi want both Eric and he to come in at this unGodly hour. Hans didn't like the way things were going tonight. For far too long he had felt left out of the loop. Even Eric had stopped reporting his findings directly to him, and he needed to know things like viral titers and plaque assays as soon as they had the data. It was the main reason why Hans had the (A.D.A.S.) system or automatic data acquisition servers installed in the labs. With the new system he had regained a little of the control he once had. At this moment though, Hans cursed all computers as he tried to login one last time.

Eric greeted Hans with a cup of Dunkin Doughnuts coffee as the elevator doors opened. "Ahh I see you have become a mind reader too, thanks!" Hans took the cup and sipped the liquid "Two creams no sugar, just the way I like it. Thanks, where's yours?"

Eric lied so as not to seem like a kiss up. "I finished mine on the way." He quickly changed the subject. "So, any word from Raimi?" Hans nodded a no and started to walk back towards the elevator when an armed security officer stepped out of the back office and waved for them to come over.

Hans looked to Eric questioningly as they started to walk to the security office. "Since when do the guards here carry guns?" Hans asked under his breath.

Unexpectedly the guard piped up in a gruff tone "Since the break in on Friday Mr. Delholme." Hans noticed that the guard's uniform was no longer a suit and tie but more of a swat style uniform. The officer's form was swathed completely in black. A tight ribbed sweater flowed into a cargo style pant that ended in tightly laced boots. It had more of a casual commando feel to it then the typical swat uniform. Hans didn't recognize the officer either, he drew a blank when he looked upon the hardened features of his face. "I am Sergeant Ridgeman. The Viron business advisory committee has asked my team handle this investigation."

"V.B.A.C.? Why are they involved?" Eric asked disquieted by the parent corporations involvement. He took a deep breath to calm himself. "A break-in should be handled by the local authorities, shouldn't it?" Eric asked as he regained his composure.

"You are correct Mr. Larsen." A disembodied voice from behind stated wryly. The voice carried an undefined accent that stressed the S in Eric's name making it sound like La'ssoon. A tall shadow took shape from out of a darkened corner. It was Raimi and he had been there the entire time. "But allowing the police to be involved would invite too much curiosity into our research. And we don't want that, now do we Eric?" Eric's demeanor suddenly became sheepish and timid with the insinuation that Raimi's statement implied.

Picking up on this Hans rapidly felt anger rise to the surface "Listen I have had enough of feeling like I've been left out of the joke! I want to know right now what the hell is going on here, and why you have asked me to come here at this hour."

"I assure you Dr. Delholme, this is no joke. As you shall soon see." The last half of Raimi's statement came out in a blur of syllables. "Sergeant Ridgeman, why don't you accompany us to level 3. On the way you can inform us as to what your team has found." Eric and Hans exchanged disquieting glances as Sergeant Ridgeman stood at attention and moved towards the three of them.

All the carefully laid plains seemed do evaporate into thin air with these new circumstances. Although Eric hadn't planned for this to happen he was a master of making things work for him. His mind worked on all the possible permutations of what could happen and his possible plans of action. He felt better as his options opened up. Besides he still had a few cards up his sleeve, or tucked under his shirt he thought as cold steel touched the skin of his back.

As they headed toward the labs on level three though, Eric could not seem to forget Raimi's final statement. It loomed over them like a dark storm cloud. He just hoped that it didn't decide to rain on his parade.











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2005/05/04

Chapter 1: Part 9, Bert and Ernie

The phone continued to ring, all she had been able to get was Eric's voice mail. She listened to his recorded voice hoping to find some comfort "Hello you have reached the voicemail of Eric Larsen of Vion Technologies"

...Click. She hung up the phone at the reminder as to why she was in this whole mess.

Damn them, they think that they can get away with what they've been doing! Her fear melted away and was replaced with disgust as she thought of the atrocities that were going on within the mirrored glass walls of Vion's corporate headquarters. They had only seen a handful of labs in the labyrinthine facility and from what they had seen they knew that Vion wasn't playing by the rules of morality.

Eric had guided them as they had snaked their way through the darkened hallways. Energy saving low voltage lighting wrapped the edges of the floor in a muted violet. The lighting only added to the feeling of being lost by giving the illusion that the halls went on for miles. Countless electronically locked doors passed by them on either side before they had come to their first target. Eric had called it a biohazard level 2 lab and that they would be safe entering it. A row of what he referred to as class 1000 hoods lined one wall and computers connected to automated machines lined the other. Carmen and Klaus immediately went for the electronic equipment and started opening the computers and silently removing their hard drives. The lab had been labeled "Tissue Culture and Viral Expression Lab" and Eric didn't answer when Jen had asked what it meant. He had become distant lately and he would get angry whenever she asked him anything about what he did at Vion.

"All set Eric." Klaus said getting up from one of the labs computer stations as if he had just won a pie eating competition. He turned to taunt Carmen who was still working frantically. "One minute forty five seconds. Beat that!"

Jen smiled as Carmen gave Klaus the finger without turning from the gutted computer in front of him. "Done! Lets Rock'n Roll."

"How much time do we have left?" Jen asked as they entered back into the hallway.

"About an hour and ten minutes white bread" Jackson answered using the nickname that referenced her fair complexion. He had called her that since they first met at a bar called the Black Rose in downtown Boston. Hearing the count on the time Eric sped up his pace to just under a jog. "Yo Eric! So where did you say everyone was tonight?"

"They're at the Carlton having their annual share holders meeting. The meeting has been extended to celebrate the FDA approval of one of our lead compounds." Eric hurried them along. "The animal testing labs are ahead on the left and the Isothermal labs are just beyond that." They reached the animal testing lab, or the AT lab as most of the people who worked within its walls called it.

Vion had developed all kinds of cute acronyms to depersonalize the work that they did. The B.E.R.T and E.R.N.I.E projects were a good example. The acronyms stood for the Bioengineering Research and Testing lab and the other lab was for the Enzymatic Resuscitation of Neurologically Impaired Encephalon's. They used terms like "Isolated brain preparations" and "Differential encephalitic transfer". More like brain transplants he said to himself as he thought of the E.R.N.I.E. lab that had continued the work started by neurosurgeon Dr. Robert White back in the sixties.

Jen was the first to enter the AT lab and Jackson followed humming the theme from the A-Team. She was taken aback at the stillness of the room. She had expected it to be all a bustle with jittery animals awakened by the late night intrusion. Instead nothing but silence greeted them as they entered and then a low hum of the negative pressure ventilation system started up as the air displacement sensors acknowledged their presence.

"We should work quickly, security will notice the activity and realize that the subjects aren't due for a feeding for another two hours". Eric pointed out the Labs automated data acquisition server to Carmen and Klaus or "The Nerds" as he liked to refer to them. A muffled argument could be heard as Carmen jockeyed with Klaus to get a head start on the Hardware dissection. "Just be careful of the animals. I am not sure what programs they are enrolled in."

Enrolled she thought to herself, it sounds so callous. Eric's choice of words made Jen question how much he really knew. "Sounds like they should be taking a class at the Harvard Extension School." Peering into one of the smaller cages she could barely make out a shape, when she figured out what it had been she wished she hadn't. Lying in the back of the cage was a writhing translucent sack, each undulating movement produced a sickening sound heavy with sticky wetness. She almost lost her dinner when she saw the undeniable form of a puppy within. As her eyes adjusted to the dark lighting more of the scene revealed itself, she wasn't looking at some cocooned creation, she was looking at a disembodied uterus. Various tubes hydrated and fed the unborn animal within.

Jen let out a gasp "Sweet Jesus" she started to back up slowly as her eyes were transfixed on the meaty lump in the cage. She started to lose her balance as her heal clipped some electrical cables. Falling backwards her hands shot behind her to prevent her from falling on anything. She landed with a hard thump, her tailbone ached and there was a pinching pain in her right arm. The commotion had caught everyone's attention as they turned to see that Jen was on the ground and her arm was wedged between the bars of a shinning stainless steal cage. As the pain abated Jen could feel wet fur beneath her hand and then... she felt it move.

Electric pulses ran through her hand, as she instinctively pulled her arm to her chest and cradled it. The theme song for Beverly Hills 90210 broke through her thoughts as her cell phone continued to ring. The vibrating device angrily buzzed on the hardwood floor. She stood there for a minute realizing that a lack of sleep and the whole ordeal was starting to play tricks on her mind. She picked up the phone "Eric?" There was silence on the other end "Hello!"

"Jen, it's me!" It was Jackson, although at first it was hard to tell because his voice sounded strained. "Jen I need some help!"

"What's wrong Jackson?" Jen asked starting to worry. "Where are you?"

"I am on my way... to the... to the house!" Jackson said between breaths. The house was what all the Omega Psi Phi brothers called their small apartment complex. "It's alive Jen... It's alive!"

"What's alive Jackson? I swear to God If you're messing with me I'll kill you!" She was already starting to pack her things, she knew he wasn't joking.

"The body.... It's alive, and it... it... Shit Jen you have to help me, the damn thing bit me. I'm bleeding pretty badly!" She could hear the pain in his voice.

"I'm on my way. Try to stop the bleeding, use a tourniquet if you have too! I know Eric said not to get anyone involved but I'm calling Corina, and if you have too, get your ass to a hospital!" Jen had met Corina when they were both in pre-med at school but they had lost touch when Jen decided to go into psychology. As fate would have it though, they had been recently reunited when Corina moved in down the hall from Jens apartment. "We'll be there in thirty minutes."

She hung up and gave Corina's apartment a call. All she got though was a busy signal and an annoying recorded message "The number you have dialed is in use right... Click" she folded her cell and ran down the hall. Her fist mirrored her heart as she began pounding on the door.







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