I. They. Evolve. #9. Marie-Louise Martel.

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: Keepsake.

Previously on I. They. Evolve.

Deep in the French abandoned zone, Thomas has joined forces with the new wave of Infected and can hear their every thought. Understanding that they, like him, are under the control of Sir Alex Blythe, Thomas coordinates the Infected into attacking his allies. Soon, the thirteen mercenaries and two pilots of their platoon are slaughtered, leaving only Colonel Cinq-cent as the sole survivor. Colonel Cinq-cent, who faced with the reality of Blythe’s treason and his manipulation of Thomas and the Infected, prepares to fight for her very life.

I. They. Evolve. Episode 9. Marie-Louise Martel.

My name is Marie-Louise Martel, though my military title is Colonel, and ever since the zombie wars they have been calling me Colonel Cinq-cent, or Colonel 500, because I once killed five-hundred zombies in a single day … oh, it has been a long time since anyone has called me Marie-Louise, and though I am into my sixth decade I can still run quite fast, and if nothing else the advancement of age has taught me a good deal about cunning and the preservation of and how best to deploy my energies, because for two days now I have been running from Thomas and his small band of zombies as they chase me across the French abandoned zone, and I have not slept nor eaten, only pausing to take rest upon high ground where I can see them clearly, struggling against the terrain and difficult rivers I bamboozle them with by leaving false tracks behind me… but, alas, it never takes them long to catch me back up, and I am forced to use the last rounds of my nervous-system bazooka gun and my brain-splicing magnet grenades to destroy my pursuers… Mon Dieu… it is with a great measure of regret or relief (I do not know which) that as the zombies fall one-by-one, Thomas continues to survive.

He chases me into some forsaken village, into the half-bombed ruins of what was once a boulangerie, my back is pressed against a wall of metal racks once used to cool real baguettes and real croissants and real pain au chocolat, and my memories are stirred by seemingly ancient days when it was possible to buy these fresh things before all ingredients eventually changed to snythi… memories… those little keepsakes of the mind, oh purée, what I would give for the taste of real bread… (my life? Non! Et vous?).

He approaches me with the menace of Sir Alex Blythe in his eyes, oh Thomas, what have you become, are you really going to turn my white and grey-matter into a Béchamel sauce with your brain-whisk, are you really going to defy the Three Laws of Robotics by killing a human being… are you… are… then I stop, and reflect, and a new horror dawns upon me as I consider my prosthetic left arm and artificial left eye: both made with AI technology, and though I am no true AI I can certainly lay claim to some of its capabilities… Mon Dieu… Thomas will kill me because his instincts will tell him I am not a true human being!

So I do what any self-respecting woman, Colonel, citizen of France would do… I take up my sabre, and I hack off my left arm at the elbow, and then, oh mercredi, I turn the blade’s tip to my cheek and pluck out my left eye… but Monseigneur! Non! Thomas is still coming at me, and next he has his hands around my throat, and as the life is squeezed from me and I am about to give up all hope, I hear a voice from behind him yelling: “Thomas, no! Enough!”

Thomas turns around, and there stands Elodie, and he gazes at her in surprise, all wide-eyed and open-mouthed, and inserted into his open mouth by the swift hand of Elodie is a mushroom – a little snowy-white thing as elegant as a Champignon de Paris, and Elodie clamps Thomas’s mouth shut and pinches his nose until he swallows the mushroom… and then she takes a step back and lands a right uppercut square beneath his jaw and knocks him stone cold out.

My name is Marie-Louise Martel, Colonel Cinq-cent, a zombie slayer … I am 63 years old and still alive in a zombie apocalypse… all thanks to God, all thanks to Elodie, and all thanks to a magic mushroom… for as Thomas comes around later, we witness a spectacular change about him.

To be continued…

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 #9 written by Ford Waight, 27 October, 2021.

I. They. Evolve. artworkMount Coudon, Var, France photo, zombie figure drawings and digital render by Ford, 2021.

Ford, The Atomic Mage.


  1. Hi Mage, it seems like either Thomas is having problems detecting the difference between “AI”, “Infected” and “Carbon Based Units”….or Blythe’s new programming doesn’t care about such details…and intends to wipe out any resistance.
    Just a small detail you might want to iron out, you quote Marie-Louise’ thoughts saying she is in her “sixtieth decade” but later you quote her as being just 63 years old not 600 years plus!
    Otherwise a great setup for the next chapter…what was in that mushroom?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks FT, good eye! Yes it should be ‘sixth’ decade not ‘sixtieth’ (she’s not a Timelord lol!). Will edit that now.
      The new wave of Infected are AI (invented by Blythe), and Thomas is supposedly ‘re-programmed to kill them’ but Blythe has set him to join forces with them.
      Thomas recognises Marshal Cinq-cent as human but also part AI, and as with Blythe’s re-programming it is enough for him to attack her. You are right to point out that Blythe will largely make Thomas kill any resistance.
      The mushroom… what was in it? Oh, you will have to find out next week 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vive Marie! Vive Elodie!

    Marshal Cinq-cent parce que we share a name (Marie) and because we are getting a personal glimpse into her character, her personality. Elodie, parce que she’s a kick ass AI heroine! Should we not be surprised at the end of the day, a woman will save the day? 😎

    Totally enjoying this futuristic saga, V. Your narrative never lacks for action or mystery as we are teased this week with trying to uncover the mystery of the “magic mushroom”. (could Mrs. Wilson’s “object” be at the bottom of this?)

    “..turn my white and grey-matter into a Béchamel sauce with your brain-whisk,..” How fun is that line, lol

    Liked by 3 people

    • Vive! Oui!! Thanks, D, glad you enjoyed this episode dedicated to Marie-Louise aka Marshal Cent-cinq (she deserves an episode).
      Cool you have ‘Marie’ in your name too 😎 It’s a rocking name imo.
      Nope, don’t be surprised if a woman saves the day here, I think my heroines are the bees-knees, and I hope they come good 😍😍

      Mrs Wilson’s object… coming soon! (once we clear up the mushroom episode) 🍄🍄🍄🥴🤪 Are the mushroom and the object related? Interesting… they could be… but then…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. So, it seems Elodie saves the day (we hope). I’m with D., that mushroom is surely the object which Thomas took from the expiring Mrs. Wilson… or am I assuming too much, I wonder? Oh yes, and the brain-whisk appears again… love it!

    But we have to wait a whole week to witness the spectacular change..? *pouts*

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This evolution is on the fast track with never a dull moment. You are helping keep our minds active trying to keep everything straight. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Nice.*

    Excellent installment.

    (Hey Spira! Thanks a lot dude, Here I am, barely managing my visuals** and you have have to trigger Monsieur Quintone from the middle balcony of my iClark Readerplex.)

    Mushroom? Mushroom?!?!

    I’m tempting to make a reference to a semi-obscure movie, but I’m still enjoying this week’s installment and subsequent coffee house discussion and critique, that like those post credit scenes in Marvel movies are an equal pleasure (“oh man, that part with the eye ball?! ewww…” “Yeah, S. she still be kinda hawt.” “Gross!” “)

    * compliment of the first water on a story that not only provides everything one would expect of reading as entertainment, but a dynamic to allow said Reader to advance the stories, in, shall we say, a private screening
    ** like, who doesn’t watch the book in they heads

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Revision: Nov 20, 2021. The author has changed throughout the narration the military title of the character “Marshal Cinq-cent” to “Colonel Cinq-cent”. This decison was made after considering that the name “maréchal de France” might cause hurt to some people in relation to the title’s useage by the WWII Maréchal Pétain of France who was tried for treason. Any references to “Marshal” Cinq-cent have been left in the comments section as they originally appeared, but with this note from the author added.


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