December 24th – 2317 hours: Fort Knox, Level 4 Security Science Lab
I didn’t consider contagion a serious threat until the corpse started to twitch. The body moved a little a first, then it convulsed violently.
I felt my stomach muscles tighten as worry and fear set in. Worry always felt foreign to me and fear was only a long forgotten memory of my youth.
“And this is happening everywhere?” I asked as I watched a white foamy bubble form on the corpse’s mouth as its head thrashed back and forth.
“As far as Georgia and Michigan, Colonel. I can only assume, given the distance between confirmed reports, the phenomenon is happening as far west as St. Louis and as far east as DC.” Doctor Watson pushed his thick glasses further up the bridge of his nose. His thin hair stood at odd angles due to his nervous hands running through it. Watson’s grimy lab coat no longer looked white, but rather various shades of grayish yellow, causing him to look like a disembodied smoker’s lung.
Typically, I’d reprimand the doctor for looking so shabby, but under the circumstances, I’ve let the lack of discipline slide.
“As far as I can tell, it has something to do with the meteor shower, night before last.” Watson scribbled observations onto his clipboard. “This is fascinating. Watch when it opens its eyes.”
“Fascinating? I would think terrifying would be a better word, doctor.” I turned my attention back to the moving corpse.
The dead man used to be First Sergeant Smoltz, a beefy warhorse from Texas. I first met Smoltz ten years prior when I was a Major and battalion XO; Smoltz was a mere platoon sergeant at the time. I stumbled on Smoltz and some other NCOs huddled together near a guard tower, a joint glowed between them. Smoltz owned up to the mistake right away; his friends denied the marijuana. Smoltz expected disciplinary action, but I commended him for his honesty instead.
Smoltz was a good man.
The corpse’s eyes sprung open and its face appeared shocked – almost scared.
“You see that! The unit seemed to understand its situation for a moment before it lost all comprehension. Extraordinary; earlier specimens only simulated life. I think our friend here is alive in some sense.” Watson seemed excited. Too excited.
“Earlier specimens?” I had my suspicions, but I wanted to hear it from Watson.
Watson only looked at me as if he’d accidentally spilled my drink.
“Answer me, doctor. Have you been conducting experiments on my men?”
“Just the dead ones, colonel.”
My muscles tensed and blood strummed through my head. I wanted to pummel the man, but I managed to restrain myself. Thank God for Army discipline.
“Do you know how insane that sounds doctor? On whose authority are you conducting these experiments?” I knew he could see the anger seething from my every pore, and I could see the cowardice emitting from him.
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