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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


2005/11/07

Chapter 2: Part 7, The Cheshire Smile

Eric stood there with a look of shocked disbelief written on his pale face. Beads of cold perspiration collected in the small of his back where the barrel of sergeant Ridgeman's gun poked painfully. Ridgeman deftly noted the outline of Eric's hidden weapon and skillfully removed it, and for the first time since childhood had Eric felt utterly helpless. Ridgeman examined the gun, "The safety's still on. First rule of engagement Mr. Larson is to never go into a situation where you think you might need a gun... with the safety engaged!" Sergeant Ridgeman emphasized his statement by pushing the muzzle harder into Eric's back. After checking the Beretta's clip, Ridgeman slide the weapon across the surgical table to Raimi.

Eric felt disoriented in the room. The sterile surgical lighting cast harsh funnels of light from around the room to the operating stage. Although Eric was caught within one of these bright beams it provided no warmth from the frigid surroundings.

"Naughty naughty Mr. Larsen, now what would you be needing this for?" Raimi said while he eyeing the weapon. "Surely you were not planning on another break-in? Maybe you were going to kill someone, ahhh I hope it wasn't going to be me! I would be greatly offended if that was true." Raimi stood motionless behind a flashing workstation used to maneuver the robotic arms. He worked quietly at the controls of the remote surgical system (RSS) as its arms unfolded from the ceiling. "This is quiet a system we have here, don't you think? It has the capability of making slices from meters, to millimeters." A glint of polished stainless steel caught the light as a four gauge scalpel appeared from the tip of an arm. It spun in three hundred and sixty degrees cutting wide circles in the air. Another arm unfurled itself from its hiding space in the ceiling and began a hypnotic dance with its twin. Their smooth soundless motions arced, rotated, opened, and closed with a malignant grace.

Hans backed away from the mechanical ballet, and braced himself against a wall that outlined various transplant procedures. He couldn't tell if his body had become numb from the events of the evening, or from the artic air that continually fell from hidden vents in the ceiling.

"Sergeant Ridgeman, is Mr. Larsen, going to tell me how he found out about my little project, or am I going to have to be indecorous to my guests?" Raimi's rhetorical question fell on deaf ears as sergeant Ridgeman intently listened to unseen voices speaking to him through a small headset he wore. Raimi continued, "Well, Eric?"

"I don't know what you're talking about!" Eric continued to try to act shocked as if he hadn't known anything about the work which went on in the cold depths of the blue wing.

Raimi made a quick gesture with his hand and Eric fell back with a cry clutching his face. The robotic arm equipped with the scalpel retracted itself from where Eric had been standing. "Don't play me for an ignorant fool!" Raimi said as rivulets of crimson dripped from between Eric's fingers.

Eric pulled his hand away from his face revealing a deep laceration which ran from chin to cheek. He quickly ripped his undershirt and pressed it to the right side of his face. "Damn you! I told you I don't know anything about any break-in!"

The arms moved menacingly closer to Eric on invisible tracks. "No more games Mr. Larsen."

Eric glanced to the robot and then to his bloodied shirt. "All right! Just don't come any closer with that thing." Eric looked to Hans for some sort of help and quickly concluded that the man was a useless quivering bundle of fear. "All right... I was inputting some new research into the A.D.A.S. system when I came across a locked project folder titled Patchwork. I was curious so I started looking around and eventually found a back door into it." Eric's demeanor changed hoping that Raimi believed his half truths.

The arm darted again, Eric's head tilted back reflexively as it moved towards him. A thin red line of blood appeared on his forehead, "No more lies, no more acting! Let me tell you what our friend Sergeant Ridgeman has been able to discern from our data logs and some old fashioned detective work." Raimi held Eric at bay by taunting him with the scalpel. "One week ago we noted someone from your lab electronically snooping around the A.D.A.S. system. Later on that night our IT department reported that an outside source was again probing the same system. The interloper used a sophisticated algorithm to somehow break into the project Patchwork folder."

Raimi continued activating equipment around the lab. In the far corner a large tank lit up from within as its greenish contents bubbled with activity. A slender probe tipped with a long needle slowly descended from the ceiling. Raimi continued talking without taking his eyes from the panel before him. "The intrusion was determined to have come from the Advanced Computing and Artificial Intelligence department at MIT. The encryption on the project folder was developed in part with the government, and MIT. You can understand our concern. The general schematics and lower level material had been mostly a blend of the MIT encryption, while the higher level specifics of the project were mostly a level 5 government encryption. Our surprise came when we noticed our proximity card security data logs had been stolen by this same mysterious source. Someone really wanted to know what was going on within these walls and was possibly planning malicious acts. Before we had time to make any changes or investigate further the labs were broken into and as you know some important specimens were stolen."

For the first time since the interrogation had begun Raimi was distracted by sergeant Ridgeman. He appeared out of the shadows from behind Raimi and whispered into his ear. Raimi acknowledged Ridgeman's comment with a terse nod and Ridgeman once again melted into the darkness. Eric could see the outline of the door to the garment room appear as Ridgeman calmly walked out of the operating theater. Eric should have felt better now that the physical threat of Ridgeman was removed but the shear insanity of Raimi unnerved him. "You see Eric, I've been monitoring you activities for quiet a while. I admire you're unabashed ambition, and frankly your work on the Pieces project was truly magnificent. I had hopes that one day you would join me on far greater endeavors, but now things have changed." Raimi looked up from the controls and intently looked into Eric's eyes. "I know about your involvement with C.A.B.L.E.T.V., in fact it's your brainchild, isn't it? Your contacts with MIT, Harvard, and within the industry itself gave you a unique position. One from which you could not only act as an inside man but also gather a fresh new crop of willing, idealistic foot soldiers to help you achieve your goals. It is my purpose tonight to find out exactly what those goals are."

Eric had nothing left to hide, Raimi obviously had been digging deep into his past for a while. The only element that Eric couldn't figure out was why Hans had been involved in all of this. Hans' work had provided some key fundamentals for all research into resuscitative medicine, but they have moved so far beyond that he was too removed to be of any further use.

Eric made a dash for his gun which sat on the corner of the table, but Raimi was faster. He picked up the weapon and chambered a round. The motion was a blur as his black leather clad hands pulled the slide back and turned the safety off in one movement. "It seems like you are just digging yourself into a deeper hole." Unaffected by the quick movement Raimi continued in a deliberate tone. "Wouldn't it be quite ironic if I were to shoot you with your own gun?" Raimi waved the gun at Eric, motioning him to move backwards. "Since you've taken my project from me I think it's up to you to provide a suitable replacement. He was the prototype built from years of exhaustive research and countless failures. In some ways I felt he was my son, born from my ideas." Raimi raised the gun at Eric. "And now he's been taken from me!" Raimi pulled the trigger and Eric closed his eyes. Eric saw the flash through closed eyelids as the report from the gunshot echoed around the room. Eric felt a burning in his chest, his hands reached up to clutch at the wound and encountered a hard object. Opening his eyes, he looked down and saw the robotic arm with the hypodermic protruding from his left pectoral. Almost immediately he could feel the effects of the powerful anesthetic starting to numb his extremities. Raimi continued powering up the operating theater. "You wanted to know what project Patchwork was... well my boy you're going to find out."

Eric fell as his knees gave way to the drug as it took a stronger hold with each beat of his heart. He lay on the floor motionless as his vision blurred in and out of focus. Across from him on the floor was Hans, he was sitting upright on the floor. Blood flowed down his chest from a bullet hole in the center of his chest. For the first time Eric thought he could see Raimi smile. It was the crocked smile of the Cheshire cat, and as his vision faded out it was all that remained in the black of a dreamless sleep.




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