1. Introduction and Interview with: Dr Allain Schwann

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World War Zed

It has been ten years since Victory in Britain (VB) day was declared. Although other parts of the world have taken longer to celebrate their own victories against the Zombie hoards, there are still some nations of the world who are yet to convince the reformed UN that they have fully eradicated the menace of the Infected. Some areas probably never will, and some simply cannot as there is no-one left there to declare they have won.

One day perhaps we will declare it for them. Until that day the Zombie infested White Zones remain, and we must continue re-building what was lost during the ten years of hell that almost brought about the extinction of the human race.

As part of my work for the United Nations, I am lucky enough to be one of the few in this post‑war world who enjoy the benefits of world travel. Because of this, I have met many different people from all walks of life in many different countries.

The one thing they have in common is that they survived.

Millions did not.

This small work presents the collected tales of their survival, their experiences, and I hope gives a measure of just how strong the human race can be in the face of adversity and an implacable foe.

World War Zed: The Survivors' Stories.


New World Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland

Interview with: Dr. Allain Schwann

Dr. Schwann welcomes me with the practiced ease of a man used to talking to people, whether they be patients, relatives or the press. We meet in a newly furnished office on the 10th floor of the hospital; a tribute in glass and steel to the resilience of the Swiss people. We conduct the interview over a mug of coffee and some small, exquisitely formed chocolates that are rapidly coming back into fashion as sugar production re-establishes itself.

Allain explains in his own words the series of events that started his own personal war...

"We were a private hospital before the war started, and by God our patients paid through the nose for our services. But, we were the best.

"I was one of the first to see an Infected person outside China, where we know now that it all started. He was a Hong Kong businessman who had decided to get out as quickly as he could after he was bitten. At first the Chinese took great pains to hush up the spread of the infection which of course meant only a wealthy few managed to make their escape. It takes several days for the symptoms to show themselves unless you physically die before the full transformation takes effect, but I think he knew what was happening. Sadly, we in the medical profession had no idea back then as no-one in the west had been warned at the time.

"He came to us in the early stages of the Infection. We followed strict hospital protocol and, not knowing what it was at the time, quarantined him under constant supervision.

"I was on duty when the alarms went off. He'd gone into cardiac arrest. The monotone death knell of the heart monitor always quickens your blood, but this time it was different to anything we could've imagined, and far far worse.

"He reanimated as we walked in through the door of the private ward. Thankfully, the nurses had strapped him down earlier in the day as he'd been having occasional seizures. So, instead of the expected corpse, we found him thrashing around like a wounded animal, his teeth snapping at anyone who came within reach.

"Initially we thought the ECG had unplugged but, once we'd tightened the straps and secured him, we noticed he was still plugged into the monitors. Flatlined: he was dead, but not dead. Nothing affected him at all. None of the standard sedatives, no matter how high the dose, even touched him. Even chloroform failed. All he did was lie there, gnashing his teeth and trying to get free. We couldn't get any blood samples out of him to do any tests as his blood had jellified. We took skin samples, but all they showed was the early signs of necrosis, indicative of a recent death. But they didn't degrade. He didn't degrade.

"It was then that we started hearing vague rumours through the World Health Organisation about a new epidemic. We were expecting something like Swine Flu or the normal knee-jerk reaction to some minor strain of the common cold, but this wasn't one old guy dying in obscurity and a few minor hospital cases, it was everywhere. World travel enabled those Infected, but still alive, to cover the globe almost instantly and we were getting reports from all over the world. By the following week we and everyone else were overrun.

"We only made it out due to the heroic act of one of our helicopter pilots. We'd evacuated the hospital, told people able to go to save themselves. We'd seen enough by then and made educated guesses at the rest.

"We knew only those bitten while alive could reanimate. I was in charge, so I made the decision.

"Only those alive could be infected, so myself and one of the other doctors went around and euthanised those too ill or infirm to move. We could hear the woeful groaning of the undead as they made their way through the hospital, floor by floor. We heard the screams as they died at their hands and the shouts of men and women as they tried to fight. They died too.

"We injected as many as we could, overdosing them on a lethal cocktail of drugs, trying to stay one step ahead of the groaning menace dragging themselves along the corridors behind us. We killed hundreds.

"We made it to the roof, barring the door behind us.

"As we stood there, the Zeds (as we call them now) caught up with us and started pounding at the door trying to get to us. We prepared to jump, embracing each other before we did, but salvation in the form of one of the hospital helicopters arrived.

"We scrambled on board and it lifted off and away from the building. As we watched, the door buckled and gave way, a group of the undead staggering onto the rooftop. They mindlessly tried to follow the now airborne helicopter and plummeted over the edge of the ten-story high hospital. We watched them fall as the hospital and civilisation fell with them. Once the pride of Zurich, the hospital was now a mass grave and home to a moaning horde of flesh-eating Infected.

"Our pilot landed in the hills near the army base that was to become our home for the next few years. We were accepted into the base because of our medical credentials where so many others weren't.

"There was one last agony though. As we said our thanks to the pilot, he mutely rolled up his sleeve and showed me his arm. He had been bitten as he tried to escape his last call out.

"We talked briefly. I don't remember what I said, but he knew, his eyes betrayed the combination of panic, acceptance, and anger I learned to recognise all too well over the coming years.

"I still don't know the man's name, but we watched from our gentle rolling hillside as he flew away. Watched the fireball of the helicopter as it crashed into the hospital roar into the sky. He gave his life to save ours, knowing he was already dead.

"On that day, the next World War began for us all; a war that would last for nearly a decade, and one that will continue on for many generations in other parts of the world. This time though we fought for the future of humanity itself against a foe that was implacable, emotionless and inhuman. I think we got lucky. Many didn't..."


~


Message from me (TheOrangutan): although this story is written in a similar style to Max Brooks' superb work, World War Z, all of the chapters, characters, and scenarios are my own work but are set in and around Brooks' own universe and inspired by his work which gave me odd dreams for weeks after reading it.

All constructive critique / comment is welcomed, and I hope you enjoy it. Cheers, Gav

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