The following episode of my serial I. They. Evolve. is written for the Six Sentence Stories writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog. This week’s cue word is: Treatment. (WARNING: contains graphic horror)
Previously on I. They. Evolve.
Sir Alex Blythe has sent Thomas, Colonel Cinq-cent, two pilots and thirteen mercenaries into the French abandoned zone onboard a Battle-Drone-Cruiser MK V to engage in the first part of a war against the new wave of Infected. As the Battle-Drone touches down on the zombie-infected wasteland, Thomas and the Colonel lead their platoon of mercenaries into battle.
I. They. Evolve. Episode 8. Blood & Dubious Circuits.
This is epic… a blood bath, an 18+ body-horror show, mutilation village and carnage central and splatter-fest city, as our platoon carves its way into the French abandoned zone and lays waste to more zombies than I could ever imagine or dare to dream of, while our Battle-Drone-Cruiser hovers above us in an electric blue sky, our two pilots veritably shitting themselves at the spectacle below, though safe (for now) behind their controls, as we make progress across Gallic terrain by orchestra of shrieks and wails and groans and howling, blood gushing as crimson geysers, cascading guts spilled like strings of rotten sausages, and twitching limbs torn from the sockets of zombie trunks made to dance in the post-apocalyptic disco lights of the mercenaries’ pulse and sonic blasters, and Colonel Cinq-cent’s nervous-system bazooka gun and the liberal tossing of her brain-splicing magnet grenades… as for me… I am armed with a brand new diamond-tipped skewer attachment and a brain-whisk… and all this thanks to the ingenuity and will of Sir Alex Blythe, Prime Minister of the UK, God bless his grubby little bastard soul.
Days pass unto this splendid carnage as our platoon takes back land which the zombies once claimed; how incredible to witness their number – herds of them rushing us from overgrown fields and seemingly deserted villages and towns, why… it’s as if they appear from beneath rocks or clamber from rat-infested tunnels beneath the earth, or fall from the sky like parasitic paratroopers – when in reality they are leaping from hills and mountains to come get us, never mind the impact with the ground will break their ankles and legs: a zombie will crawl on nothing but its wretched belly and infernal instincts if needs dictate.
The melody of Elodie’s voice in my radio attachment provides a sobering frame to the blur of death around me, as she reports back the instructions of Sir Alex Blythe who sits by her side at mission control in Toulon.
“Thomas, try to make contact with the Infected, try to communicate with them, they won’t attack you, don’t be afraid.”
Elodie is right, or rather Blythe is right, for as Colonel Cinq-cent orders a ceasefire, I approach one of the herds and mingle with their number, and it’s a miracle how they refrain from attacking me, but, rather, accept me as one of their own, and it’s almost as if I can hear their tragic voices in my head, telling me in unsaid words with a kind of telepathy usually reserved for magicians and superheroes and wizards and mages: “Stay with us, protect us, lead us, tell us how to kill both human and AI in the name of our master Alex Blythe.”
All at once, I point my finger at the mercenaries of my platoon, and via some kind of mind-control instilled within me by the programming skills of Sir Alex Blythe’s scientists, I instruct the herd to suddenly charge as one unit, as one force, as a deadly spear straight into the heart of the mercenaries… the mercenaries, who begin their retreat back to the hastily-descending Battle-Drone-Crusier, and who one-by-one are overcome by an all-engulfing wave of Infected… screams pitch against the protestations of Colonel Cinq-cent who observes the scene in shock (Thomas, mon Dieu, what have you done!) as the ground is festooned in a festival of blood and sparkling raw organic matter, at which the Battle-Drone-Cruiser becomes overrun and the two pilots inside are ripped to violent red shreds as they come apart at the seams in the seats they are belted into… while outside, the thirteen mercenaries will never receive their pay checks… but, would they ever have done… for as I analyse their destroyed remains, I spot something among the gore that is most certainly not human… tiny remote control chips… the mercenaries… they were AI all along… ha… the genius of Blythe…and now, look… look at the shock upon her face as we turn to the only survivor, Colonel Cinq-cent, who draws her sabre and faces us and prepares to die, her artificial eye and her real eye penetrating deep into my own eyes and my messed-up soul, as she understands that I, Thomas, am no longer the treatment or the cure for an apocalyse, but yet a further blight upon this cursed world.
To be continued…
Readers’ Supplement: The Secret Biography of Sir Alex Blythe.
There is an island in the Atlantic Ocean. A tiny island, when all is said and done, but a most powerful island of pioneering ideas and invention, and with a long and dubious history. And though this island had long ago conceded its territories of Scotland and Northern Ireland to a cause known back then as the ‘aftermath of Brexit’, it was doing its upmost to claim them back in the cause known as BRIT – Blythe Resistance Infection Technologies (a direct competitor to TERAS – The Earth Resistance Strategy, with the biggest stakeholder of it being… Sir Alex Blythe… talk about having fingers in two pies!).
This tiny island in the Atlantic… it still calls itself the United Kingdom, though there is little united about it, and there is no longer a king, nor a queen. The UK today consists of only England and Wales, and the leader there has great political ambitions; his eyes are set not only to the borders before him and in the middle distance, but to the long distance borders that glimmer tantalisingly on virtual maps displayed in his cabinet room of nodding generals and simpering scientists.
Prime Ministers, Presidents, Emperors, Chieftains, Warlords – these type of rulers no longer exist in the modern world as it approaches the 22nd century… the world today is controlled by military leaders and corporate heads who sign up to TERAS, or the growing contingent who sign up to BRIT. Yet, this particular leader of the UK still likes to present himself as Prime Minister. And under his stewardship, England and Wales remain completely free of the curse of the Infected. He can thank his predecessors for this, for they were fast to act in the days when the Infection took hold, to close the UK borders and flights, to ring the coast with Navy, to patrol the skies with RAF. Some would say the current Prime Minister has been lucky to inherit such a sensible system that was prepared from the outset. But then, isn’t that always the luck of the privileged?
This Prime Minister… his name is Sir Alex Blythe, a career politician from a family which can be traced back to the days before the Infection, when his ancestor served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in days of slogans, soundbites and the Global Britain fantasy… Alex Blythe, a man whose rise to the rank of Prime Minister-in-an-apocalypse came with zero objection as there were simply no other political parties in opposition… Blythe, a man who turned the status quo of statecraft upside down to ensure the media and corporations came to his heel like obedient hounds.
Sir Alex Blythe… who in the face of stunning AI technology controlled by TERAS, decided to create his own team of scientists and make AI of his own, under the umbrella of BRIT.
Blythe… who requisitioned a certain English AI butler called Thomas, and demanded his instinct drive be handed over for modification.
Blythe… who sent Thomas out into battle with a team of mercenaries, who unbeknown to anyone were secret AI clones put into place by Blythe for Thomas to destroy.
Blythe… who knew that sending Colonel Cinq-cent into the abandoned zone with Thomas would put her life in jeopardy, thus enabling him to tighten his grip of power on the country of France and lay claim to its stewardship.
For what is Blythe? But an arch manipulator and strategist, a soulless devil who would not shrink from twisting a knife into the back of his own mother and selling her corpse to science would she dare to question his motives.
That tiny island in the Atlantic ocean… the UK, consisting of only England and Wales… with Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland long ago abandoned to the Infected who roam free across the entire human-less wasteland. Blythe… it was his plan all along… to allow these territories to fall so he could one day claim them back under the ruse of being their liberator, with AI technology capable of destroying the new wave of Infected… a new wave… dreamed up in a laboratory owned by BRIT.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland… how they fell, and now how they shall rise! Just like France shall, just like the rest of the world shall!
And while it is true that Sir Alex Blythe was not responsible for the original Infection (how could he be? He wasn’t even born), it is true to say that he is responsible for the new wave of Infected and a new wave of AI… Thomas… a first among his kind; part robot, part zombie, part puppet.
Sir Alex Blythe… take a bow, and welcome the return of Empire!
Editor’s note: I. They. Evolve. is a science-fiction / horror dystopia set in a future zombie holocaust. AI humanoids which once served as the workforce for wealthy humans have been re-programmed and equipped to go out into the world to destroy the Infected. The story concentrates on Thomas, an English butler in his original programming, who faced with unprecedented and deadly attacks from a new wave of the Infected, considers the path of not only his own evolution but that of the enemy he is programmed to kill.
I. They. Evolve. Episode #8 written by Ford Waight, 20 October, 2021.
I. They. Evolve. artwork – Mount Coudon, Var, France photo, zombie figure drawings and digital render by Ford, 2021.