#picturefiction #flashfiction #zombies #warfare
This is not a zombie story.
No, really. Just because there are reanimated corpses does not make this about zombies. Bear with me, it was all about war and human dignity.
Our newly elected leaders were much more hard line on the aggressive theological based ideologies than the prior administrations. Instead of just an air war with limited ground forces in minor skirmishes the battle to eradicate the radicals expanded until the entire Middle East and most of Africa was a battleground. Hundreds of thousands of men and women sent to battle in far away lands against other men and women and yes, even children. The battlefields of this war made the trench warfare of World War 1 and the battlefields of World War 2 seem tame.
We weren’t safe back home either. The enemy had few standing armies and relied on radicalized groups to weaken their enemies behind the lines as well as in the battleground cities. Not a day passed without some explosion or shooting.
Soldiers and civilians were dying every day and it only seemed that the more our forces killed, the more joined the radical’s cause. I remember the eyes of the vets coming home after many tours. Their bodies were broken and their faces scarred but the worst was their souls. Men and women were not meant to endure so much horror and bloodshed for so long without becoming traumatized. Our soldiers were not fervent radicals trying to defeat the great oppressor and gain a place in Paradise. These were just people who wanted to live their lives but were called upon by their country to join the ever expanding fight.
It wasn’t just at home. In other parts of the world our allies’ soldiers suffered as well.
I remember the drones, the battle droids. They were marvels of warfare but still a living human controlled them; still the moral agony of causing death destroyed the souls of the soldiers. So many people had died in the conflict it was only reasonable that some scientist somewhere decided to utilize the corpses for the next generation of warrior.
The human brain is an organic computer. It runs on electricity generated through the metabolization of our food. I was tasked as a technician to design the nutrient delivery systems for the Warriors. That’s what we came to call them, Warriors. They were not soldiers or even human anymore. Fresh bodies were delivered to our facility on a daily basis as we experimented with techniques to activate the muscles and integrate the brain with the programming we fed into it.
When the first Warrior stood up and responded to our program commands the place went wild. I remember kissing one of the other techs, and drinking from bottles of champagne reserved for just such a breakthrough.
The nutrient system was a marvel if I say so myself. It was compact and turned any available protein into a liquid that supercharged the Warrior’s muscles and kept its brain functional for battle. Well, most of a Warrior’s brain. One of the things that the scientists did was short circuit the limbic system to disconnect the Warrior’s emotions. It would have been inhuman to force the resurrected soldiers to experience the emotions from warfare that we were trying to save the living from. Since Warriors came from the recently deceased the ethical concerns over altering their brain structure was less than it would have been for a living human.
When our first brigade of Warriors marched off to war we slept secure in the knowledge that no living person from our country or our allies would ever again suffer the torture of warfare.
We should have left the dead in peace.
The Warrior armies began to turn the tide after thirteen months. Warriors were self sufficient. When they destroyed an enemy force, they conscripted the corpses into their own units, replacing destroyed Warriors and growing their numbers.
The enemy bodies that were too damaged to conscript were converted into nutrients for the army.
The Warrior force grew exponentially. Soon the radicals were pushed to the point of extinction. That’s when things went wrong. The Warrior forces didn’t stop once the last radical was killed and assimilated. They soon began to attack all enemies of the allies. The entire world fell to warfare. How do you stop a force that just rises up once dead and can turn their slain enemies into new soldiers?
We still don’t know. There are millions of them now. They cover the globe. After the radicals and our enemies it seems that all living people are now the enemy.
I hope this won’t be my last testament but I can hear the Warrior forces marching outside my hiding place. Soon I’ll either be converted into a Warrior or ground into nutrients for the delivery system I created. I can hear them pounding at the door. Their dead eyes stare at me through rents in the steel door. God help me.