Another clueless, airhead model

Monday, December 24, 2012

Zombies of Dungpileton


This a fictional web novel
                  All characters, living or dead, and locations or events in this web novel
                                         are entirely fictitious or merely coincidental

                                                               Chapter 11

Oh, you satisfy me like no man before.  I want to join your commune of hippie women in New Mexico.  Can you schedule me for more sex this week?  Please, I’m begging you.

Sorry Amy Pond, with a body like this I’m booked for months.  Women call it a miracle, I call it a curse.  

Oh please baby, satisfy me again.  Oh please give it to me now….

Hey, wake up!

Race looked down at the botanist.  He awoke, dreary eyed with a pounding headache.  He was dreaming by the toilet bowl in his bathroom.  Last night he staggered back to his house after hiding from an enraged knife-wielding hooker after vomiting on her; a consequence of his stomach rejecting the combination of Artemisia extract and thousands of dead parasites.   His torso was covered in dried, black bile.  He moaned a simple request. 

White Widow please.  It’s in a jar by my peyote.

Race returned with the botanist’s preferred strain of medical cannabis.  He lit the joint, took a drag then leaned back against the toilet.

Ah, that’s better.
Race shook his head.  This was not the first failed attempt by the botanist to find someone for sex following a mission and more often than not it ended in disaster. 
You never learn, do you?  Just like that time in Thailand.  We barely escaped the Thai Royal Army after you propositioned the daughter of General Chan.

I thought she wanted me. 

You always think that.  Well, you better clean up.  I’ll have a better picture of where we stand after meeting with the Family rep in the Mayor’s office.
You should leave after I distract those men watching the house, replied the botanist.

Who? Race queried.  Paranoia more often than not validated someone was spying on him. 

They were hard to miss when I came home.  The hookers avoided them like the plague where they parked their black van.  You can slip out after they follow me to Whataburger. 

Thirty minutes later Race watched from a window as a black, unmarked van follow the botanist in his SUV to Whataburger.   When it turned the street corner he left the house in his vehicle, detouring ten additional minutes. 

Dungpileton City Hall

Race was apprehensive about showing his NSA identification card to pass through city hall security with his K-bar or Desert Eagle.  He didn’t like the confirmation of his high profile presence but this was secondary to lacking a weapon for defense should the Family find out his complicity in the death of Darya Rachmaninoff.   He entered the reception area expecting to find Darlene in a meth induced haze but instead she greeted him in a professional albeit monotone voice.

Good morning Mr. Banner.  Mayor Angleton is expecting you sir.

Race entered the office.  The mayor rose to shake his hand then introduced two men sitting adjacent to his desk.  Both were Caucasian, athletic in stature; just over six feet tall, smartly dress in identical pressed white short sleeved shirts, black ties and black trousers with patent leather black shoes.  Their hair styles were also identical; short, simply tapered and parted on the left.

Race, this is Mr. Neil Huntsman and Mr. Bob Douglass.
Mr. Huntsman immediately corrected the mayor.

Mayor, please.  We prefer to be introduced as Brother Neil and Brother Bob.
Race greeted the men then sat in a chair facing the mayor but at the corner of his eye he noticed that Neil and Bob continued to stare at him.  Nothing about this setting was foreign to Race.  He never expected to be trusted but only deceptive enough to continue the mission.  There men seemed innocuous in appearance except for a small bulge at the base of their heads.  The mayor opened the discussion.
Gentlemen, we are here today to finalize the initial stages of infection to the citizens of Dungpileton by the zombie parasite.   We need to keep this infection manageable and to this end I propose we isolate the contagion to activities which target the residents instead of tourists.  Fortunately our largest tourist attraction, the Dungpileton Founders Parade, is still a month away.

Neil interjected.

It appears that the largest gathering of citizens in this town occurs on Sunday during church services.  Brother Bob and I are very pleased the sheep of our Lord’s flock are so dedicated.

Race held his tongue about the brothel next door to the church which was an obvious conduit for the church to siphon in attendees after they took care of personal business.  No doubt wanting to placate the guilt of their sinful lusting.  The mayor continued.

Gentlemen, we will use a two-fold approach to infecting the population.  Yesterday we introduced the zombie parasite to all prostitutes that are on contract with the brothels.  It was a simple matter of having enough infected customers with a lot of money.  Naturally this doesn’t account for the women or children therefore we have a visiting pastor from China introduce the parasite cysts in their communion wafers.  Following the service attendees will be guided to a large revival area where those who did not receive communion will be infected with barbeque.  I seriously doubt no one will pass up free food.  The obvious signs of nebulous expressions will signal brothers Bob and Neil to be front and center of the crowd to imprint on them as their masters.

The mayor paused, and then spoke into his desk intercom to Darlene.

Darlene, will you please step inside my office?
Darlene entered the mayor’s office.  What was once a haggard meth addict was now a respectable looking woman albeit still aged beyond her years.   The mayor motioned his hand for her to sit in a chair besides Race.  She sat as she was told, never uttering a word.  With a side view Race noticed the bulging outline of the back of her head.

As for you, Race.  You are here as our enforcement.  You will ensure there are no non-zombie stragglers left alive in Dungpileton.  We have your first assignment and it is of the highest priority but first there is the matter of lunch.

Race saw no presence of food and was not about to eat anything from anyone associated with the Family.  He remained silent, giving an air of someone intent on fulfilling his mission when Neil posed an offer.

We know from your history that you are a man of loyalty and a proven asset to our project.  When you return from dispatching Damian Sigfried we want to offer you a command level position in our family.  Our Lord and Savior have given the human race a wonderful opportunity to attain a higher level of consciousness and euphoria when we join souls with the parasite.

Race was confused.  Having seen what the parasite did to its host he assumed being a mindless zombie was the end result.  He turned to the mayor, noticing for the first time the bulge at the base of his neck.  Neil continued.

Our geneticists had perfected a parasite that lives with us in perfect symbiosis.  The mind is vacant after cyst introduction but after 2 days the parasite and host work in tangent for our leader.  He never has to be present, instead relying on us to fulfill his grand mission for the Lord.  Only a few of us are blessed with this gift.  The rest are infected with the standard parasite therefore mindless minions in our service.

The mayor reached into his desk drawer to retrieve a steal mallet then spoke to Darlene.

Darlene honey, we need to show Race how the parasite lives in your skull.  Please come over to the desk and put your head on it.

Darlene walked to the desk and without hesitation laid her head down on it.  The mayor explained to Race what was about to transpire.

Race, Darlene has been an exceptional receptionist and a willing host for our second generation parasite but unfortunately her methamphetamine addition has degraded the function of her organs to the point where there is no recovery.  She has in her one more glorious task for us.  Is that right Darlene?

I give myself willing in the service of my father and lord.

Darlene stared at Race as the mayor brought the mallet down on her skull.  He didn’t flinch as blood and brains splattered on him.  Again the mayor raised the mallet and brought it down on Darlene’s skull, this time widening the crack enough for him to reach inside with both hands to split it open for observation of the parasite.  He beckoned for Race to approach for a closer look.  Race complied, concealing his rage and anguish.  Darlene died with the first mallet blow but the parasite’s death throes cause her limbs to twitch convulsively.  The mayor was as calm as a coroner describing dissected cadaver.

Look closer Race.  You will see how the parasite’s external nerves grow into all the regions of the brain.  It continues to grow until limited by the cranium then growth continues down the spine to continue merging with the arteries and veins.  Naturally with two organisms in one host the nutrient requirements have double.  We famish easily without twice the normal intake of food.  Gentlemen?

The mayor motioned for Neil and Bob to approach the desk, each removing a small pocket knife from there suit pockets.  The mayor positioned Darlene on the desk facing up.  With quivering hands he ripped her dress open, exposing her entire torso then, without hesitation reached into her skull to tear out a portion of brain and bit into it.  Neil and Bob plunged their knives into Darlene's midsection, slicing it open to access the vital organs.  There was no preference, whatever the men could grab was consumed in front of Race in a frenzied blood lust.

Race had come across acts of cannibalism before on a mission during the Congo civil war.  He walked through villages where dozens of women and children were raped and disemboweled, often finding severed limbs and heads still stewing in pots over fire pits but he never saw the slaughtered as it occurred.  He nearly vomited in disgust.  He wanted to grab each man and watch the life fade from their eyes as he snapped their necks but they all abruptly stopped, satiated for the moment.

Neil spoke up.

This may seem unsettling to you Race but you will come to relish the feeling of oneness with the parasite.  It rewards us for feeding it by triggering the pleasure centers of our brain.  A high no drug can equal and it is all ordained by God.

As Neil finished his face exhibited a look of euphoria.  He and Bob both reposed to chairs.  The mayor composed himself for an assignment for Race.

Our operatives have tracked the man who beat my nephew to death.  He died this morning from staph infection after surgery at Dungpileton General.  This man is eating at the only Whataburger in town with his coworkers and as it turned out one of them is targeted for termination by my beloved leader.  I am not privy to details but it appears he survived a recent assassination attempt.  This time I’m sure you will finish the job.

Race sensed he was talking about the rogue botanist.

What do you want me to do?

Just stand back and kill any survivors after my men open fire on the patrons with their automatic rifles.  Then leave with them before the police arrive.  Thereafter we need you to kill a biologist who is working in an area where we have disposed of radioactive byproducts from local factories.  Any questions?

There were none.

The mayor handed Race a slip of paper with the information he needed then slid back into his chair and closed his eyes.  He said nothing else, only smiled with a soft moan emanating from his blood stained mouth.
Killing the mayor and these men would be easy but it would lead to time consuming complications and those two operatives may not wait for him to begin the slaughter.  He phoned them immediately. 

The Pentagon
Arlington County, Virginia

David Rolan steadied himself for another punch.  It came straight into his nose, breaking cartilage and producing a profuse stream of blood.  Again, he was asked the same two questions from his inquisitor.

Who is the rouge botanist and why did you send him classified information?

David squinted through swollen eyes and cracked sockets.  It was enough to see where his tormentor stood.  He opened his mouth to utter a sentence; drawing the man closer.  When within range David spat in his face, covering it in a spackling of blood and teeth.  This solicited a barrage of punches until David passed out. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Zombies of Dungpileton


                                                        This a fictional web novel 
                  All characters, living or dead, and locations or events in this web novel
                                         are entirely fictitious or merely coincidental  

This a fictional web novel
                  All characters, living or dead, and locations or events in this web novel
                                         are entirely fictitious or merely coincidental

                                                               Chapter 10

The bottom land forests offered solace to Damian Siegfried.  Solace and escape from Dungpileton where life’s roll of the dice dumped him in that wretched town after he garnered a position with the Texas Gulf Coast Complex as a wild land firefighter and maintenance worker.  The roll of the dice also gave him custody of his young daughter, Sonya, after the psychotic break down of his wife and subsequent divorce.  His daughter gave him the will to tolerate the misanthropes in sector 4 where they resided but the seething anger endured, buried but always seeking a trigger point to emerge.  Perhaps next week he would snap the neck of his neighbor, a gelatinous dullard who screamed into the night at his TV or strangle the next cart leaning ignoramus in line at Wal-Mart who couldn’t decide which brand of discount cigarette she wanted.  Maybe he would kick the face in of the principle of his daughter’s school.  The principal who skimmed so much from the school districts’ meager budget that children were taught not by teachers rather, they sat all day watching reel to reel projections of 1950’s era documentaries on the infiltration of communists in American society.  No, the trigger point was today when he arrived at his daughter’s school to take her to tutoring lessons in West Columbia.  He stopped his truck in front of a group of tourists whom the school allowed to visit in the hope of soliciting pity and more importantly, money after seeing the sordid results of a Dungpileton education.  Screams gave him pause and sudden recognition within a faction of a second.  They were the screams of Sonya.  Damian exited his truck, barreling his way through the tourists to find the principal reassuring them the child who was dragged kicking and screaming by a man to a van was a commonplace occurrence; a sugar crazed side effect from allowing an Energy Drink company to sell its swill in vending machines within the school.  Nearby, a Dungpileton police officer in his squad car was passed out in a food coma after binging on a box of donuts. The sight of Damian’s daughter, the girl attempting to kick the groin of her assailant, ignited a primal rage in him.  The span of twenty meters was covered in a blur followed by a barrage of fists that turned the assailant’s face to bloody hamburger within seconds.  Damian stood over the man, now incapacitated on the ground, confident he had beaten him to death but then saw body movement.  A resounding kick to the face left the man unconscious.  Then to the horror of the tourists, Damian unsheathed his hunting knife to cut away the cloth around the man’s groin.  The man never felt the severing of his penis or saw the reluctance of the EMS technician, Vince Santiago, to remove it after it was crammed down his mouth.  Damian was arrested later that evening for attempted murder however, numerous cell phone recordings followed by 500 million YouTube visits enabled him to walk away a free man but his daughter though had yet to return from Michigan in the care of her grandmother.  Damian took advantage of his time off from work to hunt for hogs in the bottomlands albeit clandestinely.  He knew where the hog's den was located, stalking silently with bow and arrow at the ready as their snorting and body odors intensified.   Then a splash, a cacophony of squeals and the reports of a high caliber pistol sent him running to the den area.  In route he heard silence again and then another round of squeals and gun fire, then silence followed by a single squeal. He arrived to the flank of the male hog.  It was furiously snapping at someone beneath it in a large muddy hole.  That someone was plunging a knife repeatedly into the hog’s neck to little avail.  The act of observing and deciding what to do was one second.  Reaching in his quiver, notching arrow to bow, drawing it back and letting it fly was a fraction of a second later.

What the fuck have you done now?

Even when encapsulated in mud, Damian recognized the botanist but recognition came partly from knowing no one else could possibly find themselves in this bizarre situation.  Damian stepped back as the botanist and Race came to their feet.  The botanist responded to Damian’s question.

Oh, we were just finding out why someone wants to kill me and then we're going to stop a zombie holocaust in Dungpileton.

Damian sighed.  He had come across the botanist like this before in the woods but left him alone with his vision quests.

Either you are still tripping from peyote or these hogs found you and your gay-ass lover having sex in the woods.

Race clinched his fists, shifting towards Damian but stopped abruptly.  The drawing of another arrow was barely perceivable.  It was aimed at his chest.

Not so fast pretty boy.  I just saved both your sorry asses and now I want some answers.

The botanist reiterated his story but with more detail followed by a final explanation from Race who also showed his NSA credentials.  Damian still couldn’t fathom an assassination attempt or zombie holocaust but seeing what Race did to the hogs gave him pause.

Okay, I’m not buying this whole zombie and assassination shit but I’m willing to give you both another chance to prove that even half of what you say could be true.  Something is going on and I want in.  Race is it?  I still think both of you are fucking nuts but true or not, this is better than sitting back and rotting away in Dungpileton.

He held out his hand to Race.  They shook hands.

No hard feelings about the gay comment, Okay?  It’s just that I think he (gesturing to the botanist) has had one too many vision quests.  Nice shooting by the way.

The botanist looked at Damian, raising his hand to extend a middle finger.  Damian laughed.

You’re number one with me too.  Now let’s get you two hosed off at the refuge.

On the way to the refuge the men detoured to the oak for the botanist’s clothing.  Before leaving he placed his hand on the oak and thanked it for the advice.

                                                                  Dungpileton, Sector 6
                                                       The House of the Rogue Botanist

All three men sat around the only table in the house.  It was scavenged from garbage piles within the neighborhood as were the two chairs.  Damian sat on a cushion on top of two milk crates.  They passed around the botanist’s prized paraphernalia – a ROOR “Dealers Cup” 7.0mm green ice bong.  The discussion turned to Darya Rachmaninoff with Race protesting the botanist’s plan to deal with her.

Let me get this straight.  You are going to dinner with the most deadly assassin in the world and whose sole purpose it is to kill you?  All because you think she wants you bad enough to give you sex before she puts a bullet in your head?  Are you fuckin’ nuts?

The botanist replied in a matter of fact tone.  Makes sense to me.

Damian watched both men argue.  He was thoroughly entertained by this polemic exchange of opinions and wondered if there was a psychotic condition where two people enabled their same delusions.  He decided to humor them but first asked the botanist about food because he was getting the munchies.

What is there to eat in this place?

Just chicken and rice and my special free-range hamburger for the dogs and cats.  It's in the freezer.  Do you want it?


Damian made a sandwich of two fried patties then returned to the conversation.

Damn! This is the best hamburger I've ever eaten!  So, What if she doesn’t kill you?  Race said she is Grigory’s number one assassin and he’s uses that zombie parasite.  What if she makes you a zombie?

He barely contain his laughter when Race concurred.

That’s right, all she has to do is serve him dinner with parasites in the food.  Two hours later she can tell him to jump in the Gulf and drown and he will do it without hesitation.

The botanist knew this dilemma would be brought up.  He had an answer.

We’re dealing with parasites here.  According to you they first enter the digestive system before ending up in the brain.  I can kill them long before they reach the brain by drinking an elixir of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) before I meet Darya.  Those little guys will swim right into a toxic pool of thujone and isothujone that will not affect me much.  As an added plus we can let the rest of the elixir ferment to make absinthe.   It’s win-win but just in case I have a backup plan.

                                                           Dungpileton, Sector 1
                                               The House of Darya Rachmaninoff
                                                                   Time: 1910

Race, Damian and the botanist surveyed Darya’s house under growing darkness.  According to city records it was rented to her by the mayor’s sister.  The botanist was meeting Darya in twenty minutes, enough time for the men to go over their plan one more time.  Race checked the botanist’s voice transmitter in his Timex watch.  It was functioning properly.

Damian and I will stay in the vehicle listening to you and Darya during dinner.  If you can’t get to your gun when she makes her move I need you to delay her until we get in there to save your ass.  If in the billion to one odds she has sex with you I want you to use the code word for us to move in.

What is it again?

"I like bondage" but don't expect me to say that right away.

The botanist drank a liter of the artemisia elixir then gathered a bowl of garden vegetables before walking to Darya’s house.  Race and Damian followed him with binoculars.  They only had a few seconds to see Darya before she invited the botanist inside.  He wore his favorite tee-shirt depicting Dr. Who’s Tardis time traveling spaceship.  She wore tight jeans with a tee-shirt of the Starship Enterprise.  Its two FIG-5 subatomic unified energy impulse engines jutted out in front of her breasts.  Damian quipped.

Holy Shit!  If she gave me sex I might just let her put a bullet in my head too!

The interior of house was sparsely furnished, giving it a utilitarian appearance.  There were no pictures on the wall nor the presence of little doo-dads, mementos or keepsakes that would indicate the resident planned to stay for a time.  A table and two chairs occupied the dining room adjacent to a living room with only a couch and flat panel TV on a stand.  Darya guided the botanist to the table, offering him a chair.  When she entered the kitchen he reached down to feel his glock 9mm pistol strapped to his lower calf under his trousers.  Darya brought in their evening’s repast partitioned on separate plates.  She served the botanist’s favorite meal; boiled chicken and rice but replete with thousands of parasitic cysts.  He positioned his bowl of vegetables in the center of the table.  Darya took notice.

These vegetables look very fresh.  What are they?

The botanist identified each one.

These are from my garden.  This is summer squash (Cucurbita pepo), these are lentils (Lens culinaris), this is eggplant (Solanum melongena) and my favorite here – parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) is a plant related to carrots.  Highly recommended.

When she sat down to eat, Darya confirmed the position of her .38 caliber pistol in a slot under the tabletop. Its chamber held one round with nine more in the clip.  As the evening drew on she feigned interests in every topic the botanist brought up.  The research for this assassination was time consuming and nerve racking.  From Tips’ emails she realized she must memorize every episode of the Star Trek genre to understand her prey - The original series to Star Trek: Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.   It didn’t stop there; she wisely foresaw the botanist’s ramblings about the X-Files, The Walking Dead, South Park and Dr. Who as well as a litany of characters from Marvel comic books.  The banter was nearly intolerable and only the botanist’s partaking of the meal gave her a few brief moments of salvation.  She thought to herself that aside from killing the botanist the only other redeeming reward was a new found fondness for parsnips.  The rest of the meal made her feel queasy.

After two hours of nearly intolerable geek speak Darya noticed a slur in the botanist’s voice and minutes later he stopped talking altogether, staring at her with a blank expression on his face. 

Finally!  You finally shut up.  I was ready to scream if I heard another story about that insufferable Dr. Who.  Now my little botanist, before you die I want you to tell me why your personnel file was void of so much information and why you are using the same security protocols as the United States security agencies.

The botanist complied.

Race Banner had most of my personnel files deleted from the mainframes at the Department of the Interior.  He also helped me secure my computer's firewall to NSA security specifications.

Darya was astounded by this revelation.  Here in front of her was a person directly tied to the man she chose not to kill in North Korea in her first year as an assassin. She was prevented from hunting him thereafter because Grigory deemed him an ally despite his assassination of dozens of her country’s spies and scientists.  Now her insatiable need to stalk and kill her prey cloaked her fear of the thin man.  Race was a traitor and here was the instrument of his demise by the hand of someone he trusted.  She immediately formulated a new plan despite a nagging nausea.

Is Race at your house?


Darya removed her pistol from the slot and placed it on the table in front of her.
You will take this gun and walk back to your house.  When you see Race you will point this pistol at his chest and discharge it eight times.  When he is on the ground you will discharge another round into his head.  Next you will point the gun to your head and pull the trigger.  Do you understand?

The botanist nodded then replied.

Before I leave, can we have sex?  I like bondage.

The botanist’s face now revealed a coherent expression.  Darya was stunned.  She stammered, more from the pain in her abdomen than from shock and confusion.

Wh… wh… why are you not a zombie?

I drank an antidote before coming here that killed the parasites in my body.  Now how about that sex?

Darya was now furious.  She picked up her gun and pointed it at the botanist.

You will have sex with Satan for all eternity!

The botanist looked dismayed.

Not even a hand job?

Before Darya fired her gun a sudden, horrific pang in her gut cause her to double over and fall to the floor. The botanist rose from his chair, kicking Darya's gun away before sitting beside her.  He stroke her long red hair as he explained why she was in pain.

One plant I always grow is poison water hemlock (Cicuta maculata).  It’s in the carrot family with roots similar to parsnips and smells exactly like them.  I don’t know what it tastes like but you do.

Darya writhed in agony.  Her eyes were dilating and blood poured from her mouth as the involuntary chattering of her teeth chewed her tongue to shreds. The botanist calmly continued to described the biology of the plant and its other poison symptoms.

Don’t die yet my love; I’m not finished with our botany lesson.  The main toxic alkaloids in water hemlock are cicutoxin and cicutol.  They are neurotoxins that makes the body initially go into convulsions due to short-circuiting of yours brains’ activity.  Your teeth chattering will stop soon because your muscles will become paralyze including the ones involved in breathing.  The only known cure is consumption of activated charcoal or putting you on a respirator until the toxins wear off.
The botanist gave her a kiss on the cheek then stood up.

Now if you’ll excuse me it’s time for Dr. Who on PBS.

He walked over to living room, sitting on the couch to watch Dr. Who while turning up the TV volume to drown out the screams and moans of Darya.  At this time Race crashed through the front door.  He rolled, staying on the floor with his desert eagle drawn.  Damian stood in the doorway aiming his bow but finding their target near death on the floor.  Both men approached Darya, watching her laborious breathing for a moment until her lungs ceased to function.  Her vision of the two men faded to black.  They walked over to the botanist who by now was enthralled in his TV show.  They wanted no part of his obvious sexual arousal by the site of the Doctor’s companion, Amy Pond.  It was pointless to converse with him in this state therefore they spent the next hour pilfering through Darya’s personal effects for any knowledge that would give them an advantage in the upcoming battles.  There was little to show for it.  At this point Damian was starting to worry this delusional game of Race and the botanist had gone too far.  He thought about killing both of them when Race called to his attention Darya’s Ipad.   Race plugged a small device the size of a cigarette pack into its 30-pin power connector.  It bypassed the Ipad's security , allowing him to access email of the thin man’s last instructions to Darya.

Darya, it is imperative that you eliminate the botanist tonight and Jessica Walters within the next few days.  Failure will force me to expend too many resources and time to rectify this problem.  We lack evidence to suggest he has the same martial arts skills as Jessica therefore, it is incumbent of you to make sure he consumes the parasites as a precaution.  When he is a zombie I want you to reframe from killing him outright.  There are questions that must be answered about the omissions in his personnel file and his extraordinary computer skills.  His skills bare too much similarities to the protocols used by this country’s intelligence agencies.  You may kill him after you obtain these answers.

Damian looked down at the floor then met Race’s gaze.  His expression was that of a man who realized his world was about to change forever.

Okay, I get it.  This shit is real so what now?

You stay put until I come back from tomorrow’s meeting with the Family’s representatives.  I think most of my allies in the intelligence agencies are dead or in hiding and I’ll need all the capable help I can find to shut down this project and take out all the leaders.

Race and Banner returned to the botanist who by now was coming down from his sexual high over Amy Pond.  Race knew he wasn’t finished.

Alright horny toad, go get your hooker fix because the biggest mission of our lives starts tomorrow.
The botanist concurred.  He stopped to look at Darya before exiting the house.

What a shame.  I think I’ll tell my hooker to call herself Darya instead of Amy Pond.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Zombies of Dungpileton

This a fictional web novel
All characters, living or dead, and locations or events in this web novel
are entirely fictitious or merely coincidental  

Chapter 9

What is it you seek my child?

The great oak spoke to the rogue botanist with gentle benevolence.  The natural opulence of their surroundings intensified the bond between them.  The botanist's skin now mimic the roughened bark of the oak, undulating with thousands of minute crevasses.   His vessels became phloem and xylem; transporting water and nutrients throughout his body.  Roots emanated from his skin, finding their way into the ground.  Moss covered him in patches.  The memories of the oak were his; 1000 years of observing the evolution of the forest around him, the change of seasons, the cycle of life and death.  Animals burrowed under him, birds found refuge in his limbs during their migration of a thousand miles.  Top carnivores; the pumas, jaguars, bears which maintained the balance between prey and predator were eradicated over the centuries by man.  And it was man who introduced the foreign invaders; wild hogs (Sus scrofa), the tallow and its Chinese allies - the privet (Ligustrum spp.), McCartney rose (Rosa bracteata) and trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata).  Their hordes have overrun many areas of the forest, forming dense mono-cultures of little value to the wildlife that evolved with the native flora.  The botanist composed himself.

Great Oak, I seek an answer which troubles me greatly.   A female of my species has initiated the ritual of fertility but her actions bring suspicion for she is of great beauty.

The oak, wise in its counsel asked the botanist to explain further.

Why is great beauty such an encumbrance for you?

She is a subspecies which rarely mates with my kind.  They do not occupy my range and her sudden presence troubles me much like the the tallow tree.   I also sense deceptive vocalization; not of this territory.  

Massive limbs reach down to bring the botanist to his feet. 

My child, the answer you seek cannot be sought here.  They lie with the wild hogs.  Go, run through the forest and find your  answer in the clues left by them. 

During this time Race sat watching the botanist.  It had been four hours since he consumed peyote and fell into a fetal position at the base of the oak.  Race's concern was tempered by having bear witness to the botanist’s vision quests several times before.  As long as he twitched now and then there was no need to intervene.  Suddenly the botanist broke protocol.  He sprang up and immediately darted through the sub-canopy.  Race gave chase, cursing as he tripped over dead fall, crashed into dense, thorny dewberry (Rubus trivalis) or slapped in the face by low hanging tree limbs. 

Where the hell is he going?

The botanist fell repeatedly as his skin was tattooed with gashes from the filleting of briar but he was numb to all this.  There was no sensation of pain, only the driving search for the presence of the wild hog.  There was  no sense of order to his meandering.  He only stopped periodically, sniffed the ground or observed the uprooting of plants.  Race chased him for thirty minutes as his curses sent wildlife scattering.  Then abruptly the botanist dived into a large hole of slurry mud created by wallowing hogs.  He wallowed in it then fell silent.  Race was gasping for breath, wincing at the pungent odor of pig urine and hormones but thankful for the respite.  His ringing cell phone signaled an incoming message.  The picture of Debbie sent by the botanist had finally come through.   Race leaned against a fallen tree to gather his breath.  When he opened the file his eyes widened in disbelief but this instantly became the secondary concern for he and the botanist were surrounded by a sounder of massive female wild hogs with their piglets and a dominant male. 

The wild hogs in the refuge bottomlands are descendants of matings between feral domesticated hogs and Eurasian wild boars which were brought into the state for hunting in the 1930’s.  The resulting hybrids proliferated due to their high fecundity and wide ranging diet.  In the absence of top carnivores the hogs now run rampant, uprooting expanses of forest with four-inch tusks in pursuit of nuts, grubs and worms.  Females range in weight from 100 to 150 pounds.  Males can reach 500 to 600 pounds. If her piglets reach maturity a sow over a five year period can be responsible for the birth of over 1000 hogs. The veracious omnivorous diet of wild hogs also includes herpetofuna, small mammals, birds and eggs.  The complex and state officials slaughter thousands of wild hogs annually only to see their numbers recover with a year. 

Race and the botanist stumbled into the hog’s primary den and whereas most times they would retreat, this time they were emboldened by their numbers to make the intruders pay for their trespassing.  In the botanist’s vision quest hours were seconds in the real world.  He crawled in the mud along the perimeter of the hole but in this quest he was walking in through the long corridors of his mind.  Millions of paths with billions of neuron doors with one specific memory, one engram clue to answer his question.  Most doors opened to casual observations that seemed inconsequential and now were compress to make room for the memories that made his life functional.  While he journeyed the real world became direr. 

Race positioned himself between the botanist and the hogs, drawing his Desert Eagle and Marine K-Bar knife from the sheath on his belt.  The sub-dominant females made the first move, slowly encircling the men.  He immediately saw through this tactic, firing a kill shot to the head of the nearest hog.  The .44 magnum round instantly put her down but it sent the other hogs into a charging frenzy.  Seven head shots in rapid succession fell seven more hogs.  The last eight females hesitated in their advance, giving Race time to reload his last clip.

The botanist continued his journey.  One door out of perhaps one hundred billion led to a pertinent molecule of memory which, when piece together with other memories started to form coherent clues.   Two clues began to dominate; the origins of the hogs and a case file he read on a mission which led Race to North Korea in 1999 to extract a defecting nuclear physicist.   He did not know a double agent had notified both North Korea and the Russians of the mission after Race had infiltrated enemy territory. The newly elected president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, was eager to resurrect the glory days of Russian espionage and denying the prize of a North Korean defector would send a clear message to the Western World that Russia was again a force to be reckon with in the world of cloak and dagger.  He coordinated with the Koreans to withhold their troops  because this was an opportunity to test his corps of assassins, the most promising of which was Darya Rachmaninoff.  

Darya Rachmaninoff was born in 1980 in Chechnya, a republic of Russia.  She was an only child.  Her mother, Yana, was an educator, her father Anatoly a factory manager.  Darya immediately stood out for her beauty, intelligence and athleticism.  She soon realized how all three combined granted her access to privileges most children could only dream of in Soviet era Russia.  By age 10 she was in the process of applying for acceptance to Moscow University but her ambitions abruptly came to a halt with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  Under then president Boris Yeltsin the reforms of Perestroika brought to the forefront the utter inefficiency of most Russian factories.  Yeltsin corrupt associates profited enormously from the dismantling and selling off of archaic factories, leaving millions of workers to fend for themselves with no help from the government.  One such factory was managed by Anatoly.   Anatoly was the primary provider for the family.  Yana’s income brought in enough money for the family to enjoy vacations in the Baltics and access to clothes and food which the common Russian could not afford.  After Anatoly became unemployed he found his skill sets were no longer compatible the new Russian economy.  The family’s savings dissipated within a year and they, like many Russians found themselves waiting in line for hours for the most basic foodstuffs.  Eventually there were not enough funds to pay the rent of their spacious apartment and the family was forced to move in with Yana’s brother, Victor, on a small farm in the country side.  Farm life did not suit Anatoly well.  He found it beneath him to slop hogs and shovel manure.  Eventually he stopped with farm chores altogether and found solace in the consumption of cheap vodka obtained from bath tub brewers in the local town.  It was common for him to be absent from morning to evening then staggering home to pass out on the front lawn.  Yana found part time work in town as a teacher and for a time the meager income quelled the concerns of Victor.  Darya, now 13, recognized the plight of her situation early and realized escape could be found in education.  She continued to excel in her studies and once again was on the verge of applying for college.  Even in the vastness of the Russia, word of a student with Darya's intelligence and physical abilities made its way to the security agencies which replaced the KGB.  One of their directors, Grigory Zhardov took a keen interest in Darya as part of his plan to find recruits to replace the old guard of the KGB.  Grigory was a thin, tall man, deeply religious but hid his faith well during the heyday of the KGB.  Now with the close alliance between the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian government Grigory was free to express his faith.  No one questioned the gold cross he displayed openly around his neck.  Grigory personally traveled throughout Russia to hand pick his agents, sometimes coercing families to give up their children to travel back with him to Moscow but more often families were happy to have one less mouth to feed and have the potential for a child to send back money.  

Anatoly’s pride was in a free fall. The resentment of his daughter successes soon morphed into a deep, festering hatred.  He now stayed home more, plotting for a day when Yana and her brother were gone thus leaving him alone with his daughter after she returned from school.  That time came and by then he was intoxicated.  He felt powerless to change the course of his life but he still had power over his daughter. He staggered to the barn where she fed the livestock.  She knew by now to ignore his stupors around her but this time he stood still, looking at her with an emotionless, controlled rage.  She continued with her chores when the crushing grip of a hand closed around her neck and she was flung to a pile of hay.  Rolling on her back she looked up to see her father pounce on her.  He held both of her arms behind her back with one hand, tore at her clothing and sloppily attempted to kiss her.  Darya freed an arm to raked her nails across Anatoly’s face.  He responded with a punch to her face that nearly caused unconsciousness.  Her senses regained, she saw her father standing above her in the process of removing his trousers.  Darya cried, pleading with her father to stop which only enraged him more.  What followed was a sound which would become all too familiar to Darya; the tweet of gun fire muffled by a silencer.  Four small ragged holes appeared in the front of her fathers’ shirt and subsequently four small spots of blood followed.  The spots grew in diameter, merging as one as Anatoly’s alcohol-addled brain realized his lungs and heart were punctured by bullets.  He then died, collapsing to the side of Darya. Darya looked at her father’s corpse without any emotion.  She gazed upward to see a thin man approach her.  He holstered his Markarov pistol and reached out his hand out to her.  She clasped it, was pulled to her feet and stood without uttering a word.  The thin man smiled and spoke in a calm, determined voice.

Darya Rachmaninoff?

She nodded.

I am Grigory Zhardov, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.  

There was no acknowledgment from Darya. He continued.

Darya, today your past is nonexistent.  There is nothing here for you.  You will come back with me to Moscow to begin a new life in the service of the Mother Country. 

Grigory has seen the look in Darya’s face before on his other recruits.  It was the cold analytical acceptance of a situation without any other options.  She spoke.

Mr. Zhardov, I will gather my possessions and join you within ten minutes. 
That will not be necessary, Grigory replied.  I have clothing in your size in my vehicle.  All your other needs will now be met by the intelligence service.  An associate will stay behind to notify your mother when she returns from work.  

Darya followed the thin man to his state vehicle, gazing momentarily to the house and the window to her room.  Along its sill was a small teddy bear; a gift from her father during better times.  She turned back to the vehicle, entered it and left her childhood behind.
The Botanist opened another neuron door to the North Korea mission file.  Race was positioned in a camouflaged hole in the side of a hill on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at the 38th parallel north.  He was here before but looking at it from South Korean side while on deployment as an active duty Marine.  He entered to this side through a tunnel secretly dug by the South Koreans.  Over the last 54 years of Armistice both Korans have engaged in tit for tat gunfire.  Incursions by small patrols would escalate tensions and saber rattling but as yet the specter of a full out war was always curtailed by frenzied diplomatic action.   Above ground the buildup of the 250 km by 4 km DMZ strip is laced with thousands of kilometers of barbed wire and densely sown with over 20 million land mines.  At the agreed time of extraction Race scanned the area with his binoculars, zeroing in on a small man crawling through the brush.  The man stopped to removed from his trouser pocket a small box-shaped item.  It was raised to the sky and immediately Race heard the encrypted beeping of his satellite receiver.  Time to move. 

This scientist was rotund, a consequence of having excessive access to food while most of his fellow emaciated Koreans consumed boiled tree bark and insects to survive.  For most of his life Bae Yaung parlayed his knowledge of nuclear fission into a comfortable position as a ranking scientist in the upper echelons of the North Korean communist party.  It served him well but like all animals, his dominance was constantly challenged.  Younger, hungrier and more intelligent scientists convinced Bae his days of privilege were numbered and once his usefulness was questioned he would be reassigned to the proletariat; subjected to fighting for scrapes of food like a wild dog.  He realized his only option was to escape the country and offer his knowledge to western intelligence services.  He initiated the plan with a note passed secretly to a CIA agent posing as an inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency.  Inspections by the IAEA at Bae's atomic reactor happened on occasion, based on how far the North Korean Communist Party was willing to trade monitoring for food aid.  Bae’s notes were passed up through several channels until arriving at the desk of General Langford.  His man for the mission to extract Bae was Race whose fluency in 15 languages included Korean.
Bae was frustrated over the reliance of sporadic communicates via the passing of notes while his position in the communist party was crumbling.  Finally, the last note contained instructions where to be extracted.  Bribing North Korean guards to look away was the easiest part of Bae’s escape.  It allowed him to travel to the extraction point near the DMZ.  Bae never heard Race approach until a hand reach around his head to cover his mouth.  

당신이 탈출 돕기 위해 여기입니다.  I am here to help you escape.   

당신이 탈출 돕기 위해 여기입니다. 손을 제거하지만 아무 하지 않는 경우 돌아서.  Turn around when I remove my hand but don't say anything.  

Bae nodded, turning to face Race.  

따라와.  Follow me. 
They had not gone 100 meters when Race heard a small tone from his satellite receiver which indicated an incoming message.  The encrypted message stated the mission was compromised by a double agent and plan B was in effect  – a different route and tunnel.  Plan B also factored in the presence of North Korean troops but where were they?

The answer came with the impact of a 7.62 mm round into Bae’s head.  Blood and brain splattered on Race simultaneously with the crack of the report from Darya’s Dragunov sniper rifle.  Race dropped to the ground, crawling within a slight depression.  It offered no real protection for his head was still exposed.  He was going to die anyway he thought, might as well see who was going to kill him.  He unslung his binoculars to scanned the hills to his front.  Whether or not he was killed, the specially designed binoculars would take a photograph of his killers' face and send it as an encrypted packet to satellites for forwarding to the NSA computers at Ft. Meade.  The him turned out to be a her, a young, tall woman in clothing mimicking the color of the hillside 300 meters away.  She sat there looking in the direction of Race.

What is she waiting for?

Race stood up, exposing himself entirely.  The woman also stood up but then picked up her backpack, slung her rifle and walked away.  She turned towards Race one more time just to emphasize she won.  Her mission was to kill Bae.  Race was the mouse, she the cat who played with him until deciding to kill or not.  She was aware Race would cross her path again and found it erotic to keep her mouse guessing when the next sniper round had his name on it.  Race turned towards the escape tunnel, perplexed that his life was spared.  In the preceding years he would piece together enough information from sources to match the face of the sniper with a name – Darya Rachmaninoff, the premiere assassin for the Russian Federation.

The botanist made the connection between the homeland origin of wild hogs and Darya and was ready to walk out the last door to reality.  As he opened it he found himself sitting in a one meter deep pool of mud.  Race was in front of him firing in succession at charging hogs until sixteen bodies surrounded the men.  Race looked around, chest heaving, shirt soaked with sweat but satisfied they were out of danger.  He looked down at the botanist.

Debbie is Dar…  The botanist cut him off.

I know, Darya Rachmaninoff. 
The snort of a hog interrupted matters.  The male hog, 600 pounds of hybrid fury, surveyed the carnage that was his mates.  The men knew pigs were intelligent but this hog seemed to express human-like grief, grief which turned to rage and revenge.  With a ear-piercing squeal the massive hog charge towards Race.  His gun, empty of rounds, was useless against this behemoth.  He would have to make a stand with his K-Bar.  Steadying himself, Race braced for the impact of the hog.  Had he a solid wall behind him his body would be crushed to jelly.  Instead, the impact of hog and man sent both into the hole on top of the botanist.  He was pinned to the bottom; submerge in the foul, viscous mud as the two combatants fought above him.  The tusks of the hog had limited room to slice open Race but they still inflicted close quarter punctures to his arms.  Race repeatedly drove his knife into the side of the hog’s neck, seeking an artery to cut while his other arm grasped the hogs' throat.  He managed to keep the snapping teeth from his face but it was becoming apparent the weight of the hog was sufficient to drown both men.  Twenty seconds had only passed and Race was fading as he struggled to breath with a mouth full of mud and lungs that were crushing under the hog’s body.  The botanist was at the extension of his quickly gulped breath but unable to raise his head out of the mud.  Race’s valiant struggles were coming to an end.  He cursed this ignominious finale of his life but determined with his last breath to continue plunging his knife into the hog.  With one last exertion he raised his head to see where to stab when a thin projectile entered into the hogs’ skull.  A titanium point on a shaft of wood had pierced fur and bone at close range, ripping effortlessly through brain and partially exiting on the other side of the skull.  The hog was dead.  Race slid out from under the swine, stabilizing himself to drag the gasping botanist to the side of the hole.  Both men hung on the edge, too depleted to look up at the man who saved their lives and now stood above them.  His left hand clasped a long bow.  He smiled and shook his head in a manner that suggested recognition of who he was looking at.  

What the fuck have you done this time?