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Of Zombies and Men


Shadowsage
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OOC: This is going to be my story of an Imperial Citizen and how he copes with the struggles of a sieged Border-City.

IC:

Sylvester Kennedy had lived a long, fulfilling life. Amongst the various services he had done for the Imperium was service in the South American War, the Saborian Conflict, and other regional battles. His superiors had the good grace not to mention his brief stint in the Imperial Secret Police; a touchy subject due to their extremely shadowy nature. Not even the Imperator knew of their existence.

This retired trooper had taken up a job constructing defensive works along the Imperium's border to make ends meet. While nobody ever expected an attack from their neighbors in Diberia, it didn't hurt to be prepared.

Besides, the pay was pretty good.

ORIGINS

Kennedy yawned while stretching, and rolled out of bed. He padded slowly to the bathroom while scratching idly at his chin. After doing his business and shaving, Kennedy walked heavily down the stairs to the kitchen. He flicked on the Television without much thought and set about fixing breakfast. Little bits of conversation filtered into his sleepy mind while his toast burned and eggs cooked.

"-where the man ambushed police officers investigating his home on 551 Lombardi Street. Details are sketchy, but it appears that one officer was wounded during the assault. The bodies of a family of four have been found in the house."

His attention focused on the TV where in full and uncensored glory, an elderly man slammed into a police officer and literally ripped a chunk out of the man with his teeth. The unfortunate officer's squad-mates gunned the psycho-path down without mercy. Meanwhile, the spasmodic police officer was loaded into an ambulance which sped off into the distance.

Kennedy frowned to himself. 'Who on earth would want to do something like that?' That was when it hit him: Lombardi street was literally one block to the north of his house. A dreadful feeling settled over him, almost like going to work would be a very bad decision. Kennedy shook the feeling off and walked to the door. He grabbed his keys and jacket on the way out. Almost as an afterthought he locked the door.

---

For some reason, Kennedy couldn't even concentrate on his work that day. His friend Steve approached him and struck up a conversation.

"Hey Syl. You hear about that berserk man just near your street?" When Kennedy nodded affirmative, Steve continued. "Some crazy !@#$ going down over there, man. I'd watch your back from now on; something about this doesn't seem RIGHT." Kennedy nodded and smiled while his hand unconsciously patted the service pistol holstered in the small of his back.

Being prepared was a good thing.

Edited by Shadowsage
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BREAKDOWN

Kennedy wallowed in bored anguish through the entire work day. It seemed to go even more slowly as time passed, mocking him with the impossibility of escape from his brain-death. Finally the clock struck 4:00 PM and Kennedy was free at last. He gave a silent prayer of thanks to whatever god had seen fit to release him from the personal hell he had been occupying and gathered up his things. A bit of work at home would be good for his waning discipline.

While sitting in the car, Kennedy couldn't help but notice Christmas was coming up. He decided to give his girlfriend a call, just to bug her about what she wanted. When he pulled out his Cell-phone though, it was already glaring insistently at him. The angry little device displayed a symbol for 'Missed Calls', coincidentally, from his sister. Kennedy hit redial and sat in the car.

"Oh, thank god! You called!" The fear in Jane's voice made the friendly greeting Kennedy had prepared die in his throat. She continued urgently. "I tried calling the police, but 9-1-1 is totally swamped with calls like mine. They're too busy!" A sob made its' way across the line with enough strength to wrack Kennedy's heart, even while he wondered just what the hell she was talking about.

"I can hear them down there, the ba- Oh wait, no! Please, hel-" The sound cut out when the call ended amidst thundering footsteps and Jane's frantic cries. Kennedy let out a shaking breath and tried to call Jane back. Even while the phone was ringing, he thought to himself, 'It's just a mistake. She hit the End Call button on accident, and we'll laugh at this.' By the fourth call he didn't believe himself anymore.

Seeing as his girlfriend lived with him, Kennedy didn't have much choice but to investigate the strange happenings at his house. The former soldier took out his service pistol and placed it on his lap, taking comfort in its' familiar contours. Even while he drove towards his home, Kennedy still lent half an ear towards listening for his distinct ring-tone.

The closer he went to his house though, the harder it was to pretend everything was normal. Block after block of cookie-cutter housing was alive with the frantic screams of people in pain. Kennedy stopped at a red light and craned his neck to get a look down the street. Houses aflame forced dozens of people out into the streets where a small mob of deranged maniacs waited. Whenever a resident was spotted, no less than four people jumped them in a frantic attempt to do...something. Whatever was happening, Kennedy couldn't see from his angle.

Rabies, right. Gotta be rabies. The little voice in the back of his head insisted. But the soldier wasn't listening. With the complete lack of police around the speed-limit had just become more of a guide-line. Kennedy sped down the road at roughly double the 'suggestion' in a desperate bid to save Jane from whatever fate awaited her.

Kennedy slammed the breaks in front of his house. He noticed the door was ajar, damn-near slammed off its' hinges. He brought his pistol into a ready-stance and walked uncertainly through the portal. Shards of glass and wood cracked under his feet, echoing madly around the dead-silent home. The old soldier in Kennedy demanded that he secure the bottom-floor before charging upstairs. Other than some slightly moved appliances which he rationalized to Jane's puttering about the house, nothing was out of place.

So Kennedy walked up the stairs.

Each step taunted him with whispers of insanity. 'She never loved you.' One creaked at him. 'You weren't there when she needed you.' Another moaned in sadistic glee. Kennedy shook his head violently to clear it and pressed on. The taunts grew more and more obscene as he neared the top, before stopping altogether. He turned to the left and was met by two bloody neighbors leaping mouth-agape towards him.

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Any normal person would have ran at the sight: two people, eyes glowing with hatred dashing in an all-out attempt to consume Kennedy. Bits of flesh and blood flew from their decaying mouths while they roared their contempt at the feeble living man. Rivers of the Crimson life substance flew out of various infected cuts and gashes on the rotting carcasses once called 'Human Beings'.

But Sylvester Kennedy was not a normal person.

His service pistol barked sharply once, twice. The lead maniac went down with half of his skull missing. But by then, Mr. Faraday had closed the distance and leapt bodily upon Kennedy. The veteran let his knees collapse from underneath him and Mr. Faraday flew overhead. Kennedy regained his feet and discarded the pistol. An uncontrollable rage filled him from head to toe.

'How dare they enter my home. How DARE THEY!' He thought to himself. Even if it was irrational to hate the dead, Kennedy tried. And he succeeded. The man ripped an exposed piece of metal out of the wall and swung it, bat-like, into Mr. Faraday's torso. The adrenaline-fueled blow buried itself deep into Faraday's ribcage. When Kennedy ripped it out, the Zombie lost his torso.

In a fit of rage, Kennedy punted the still thrashing head out the window.

He sank to the ground, sobbing uncontrollably. The only memory of Jane he had left was a picture left in a puddle of blood, below the window.

*To Be Continued After I Get Some Time*

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  • 3 weeks later...

INFECTION

Kennedy languished in his emotional hell. He was entirely unaware of the bite which had just barely managed to penetrate the skin of his hand. He drew the hood up on his jacket, turned back down the hall and stalked down the stairs loudly. The stiff, uncaring posture to which he held himself spoke volumes concerning his internal anguish. The former Soldier eyed his handgun with distaste before stuffing it into his waste band.

His now deserted home was a tomb, entrapping the silence, smothering him. Kennedy took one look around and decided that enough was enough; time to get out of the hell-hole of a city once called Illryia. Can after can of food and provisions was thrown into the various backpacks laying around the house. Sylvester entered his room and opened the closet. He tore out a false back-wall to expose a rather large gun-collection, consisting of no less than Three Imperial Thunderbursts, Half a Dozen High-Caliber Revolvers, Two Standard Pistols, and ungodly amounts of ammunition.

All of this was dropped into the back of the utilities truck lying in the Garage.

Unbeknown to him, the virus was slowly spreading through his system. But this was no ordinary strain of the infection; its' properties were considerably less virulent. Instead of wholesale decomposition, the infection began the steps to bolstering bone and muscle density to ungodly levels. While the groundwork for its' host was being laid, it also targeted the Central Nervous System of the victim. Kennedy was unusual; his Nervous System was damaged due to experimentation with failed Direct-Neural-Linking technologies.

(OOC: Accelerating the time-line for RP purposes.)

**Infection Day 0. Night-time.**

Kennedy had been driving around for at least a week and seen nothing but violence. Whenever he thought he had found a safe-spot, a haven of tranquility in the madness of the city, other survivors would bring hordes of infected to the area. His eyes closed slowly while driving before snapping wide open. The tired man shook his head rapidly in an effort to get rid of the desire to sleep.

A few things had been worrying him over the course of the city's destruction. His hands had slowly become more and more bony; the fingers resembled extremely prehensile claws. The few mirrors he had come across showed his skin was pale and clammy.

He didn't look in mirrors anymore because of his eyes.

The slit-pupils looked decidedly unnatural in the blue pools of his irises. It reminded him too much of them, of the enemy. His hood was constantly drawn up most of the time; a futile attempt to face what he was becoming. There was only one explanation for the changes he was going through.

Infection.

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OOC: I don't know if I want the condition to stabilize in a roughly half-and-half form, or have some sort of constant mental struggle to maintain control. I'm leaning towards the latter. :)

IC:

**Infection Day 3. Night Time.**

He couldn't remember the last time he saw a live human. Kennedy had staggered through the world in a haze of emotional anguish for the past few days. The changes ravaging his body had manifested themselves only recently and he had no idea how to control himself in his...condition.

It was as if two people occupied his mind. One was Sylvester Kennedy, the man. He was highly intelligent and recognized the situation he was in, what had to be done to survive, and other thought processes present only in Sentient Beings. The Other was Sylvester Kennedy, the Hunter. According to Kennedy the Man's hypothesis, some sort of Genetic accident had caused the Virus to be incapable of fully converting his body for the Horde.

As such, he had to live with what amounted to another side of him he never knew existed.

----

Kennedy strode through an alleyway on two sure-footed feet. He had abandoned the truck after being attacked earlier in the day by a veritable army of Undead. 'Probably heard the damned thing running.' He thought darkly. It forbade some rather disturbing thoughts. How did they recognize the sound? Are memories retained after infection?

The ex-soldier was ripped out of his thoughts when a lone undead staggered along in the entrance to the alley. His stomach rumbled at the sight, begging to be fed. And that was when Sylvester the Man was overwhelmed by the predatory fury of Sylvester the Hunter.

He crouched on the ground, coiling his legs underneath him. After a moment of instinctual calculation of angles and Gravity, Sylvester let out a bloodthirsty shriek and flung himself bodily more than 5 yards onto his target. Claws which were once hands buried themselves deep into the rotting meat before ripping out vital chunks of organs. Sylvester the Hunter fed himself greedily upon the flesh for a few moments before screeching once more and leaping onto a pipe connecting the roof of one building to the alley.

He crawled lithely up and disappeared into the night.

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That was a close one!

Someone cursed under her breath as she reloaded her weapon, a shotgun to be precise. She had just eliminated a lone undead after it attempted to launch an ambush on her, to no avail.

Marissa Valentine took in a breath to calm herself down. Readying her shotgun, Marissa advanced down a deserted street. A chill went up her spine as she took in the surroundings. The streets was deserted and run-down; a few run-down cars could be seen from there and then.

Marissa is an agent working for the Bioterrorism Security Association (BSA) of the Byzantine Central Intelligence Agency. She’d been sent to the Imperium of America some time ago, apparently to meet up with someone. Someone named Sylvester Kennedy, to be precise.

Now that she was somehow there, in a deserted border city (perhaps it was because of the clearance she had or because the soldiers surrounding the city had taken a liking to her), Marissa now had to find Kennedy somewhere in the city, and as soon as possible.

Grasping her shotgun, Marissa took in another breath as she advanced down the street…

jill.jpg

Marissa Valentine, agent of the BSA.

Edited by JEDCJT
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OOC: I like the latter too...a constant sutruggle is much more dramatic.

OOC: I don't know if I want the condition to stabilize in a roughly half-and-half form, or have some sort of constant mental struggle to maintain control. I'm leaning towards the latter. :)

IC:

**Infection Day 3. Night Time.**

He couldn't remember the last time he saw a live human. Kennedy had staggered through the world in a haze of emotional anguish for the past few days. The changes ravaging his body had manifested themselves only recently and he had no idea how to control himself in his...condition.

It was as if two people occupied his mind. One was Sylvester Kennedy, the man. He was highly intelligent and recognized the situation he was in, what had to be done to survive, and other thought processes present only in Sentient Beings. The Other was Sylvester Kennedy, the Hunter. According to Kennedy the Man's hypothesis, some sort of Genetic accident had caused the Virus to be incapable of fully converting his body for the Horde.

As such, he had to live with what amounted to another side of him he never knew existed.

----

Kennedy strode through an alleyway on two sure-footed feet. He had abandoned the truck after being attacked earlier in the day by a veritable army of Undead. 'Probably heard the damned thing running.' He thought darkly. It forbade some rather disturbing thoughts. How did they recognize the sound? Are memories retained after infection?

The ex-soldier was ripped out of his thoughts when a lone undead staggered along in the entrance to the alley. His stomach rumbled at the sight, begging to be fed. And that was when Sylvester the Man was overwhelmed by the predatory fury of Sylvester the Hunter.

He crouched on the ground, coiling his legs underneath him. After a moment of instinctual calculation of angles and Gravity, Sylvester let out a bloodthirsty shriek and flung himself bodily more than 5 yards onto his target. Claws which were once hands buried themselves deep into the rotting meat before ripping out vital chunks of organs. Sylvester the Hunter fed himself greedily upon the flesh for a few moments before screeching once more and leaping onto a pipe connecting the roof of one building to the alley.

He crawled lithely up and disappeared into the night.

OOC: I'd get involved, but I've got too many other time-consuming RP's to take care of right now...

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Sylvester the Hunter stalked through the shadows, an angry specter haunting the bloated corpse of a city Illyria had become. Deserted buildings trapped hundreds of zombified victims in their midst, all banging and roaring for their release. And Sylvester fed upon the flesh of the undead.

But it was not enough for him. His predatory side longed for fresh meat, the sense of warm blood flowing through his system. He leapt from rooftop to rooftop, searching desperately through the city for any sign of life. A shotgun blast echoed through the deserted urban areas.

Curiosity aroused, Sylvester turned in that direction and began making his way towards the disturbance.

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Marissa carefully advanced down the street, her shotgun ready. It was silent in the city...almost too silent.

Then she heard something nearby. Something like...footsteps. It was faint, sure, but she could hear it. And to be honest, it creeped her out a bit. But another thought hit her: maybe it was Sylvester Kennedy...?

She continued to advance down the street, looking out for anything...different.

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Sylvester watched from a conveniently placed rooftop as the woman walked cautiously through the blood-spattered street. Something in the back of his mind roared at him to forget it, to leave this one be. But the hunger was too great to pass up. Dead Flesh gave him aches and pains in he stomach; only living, bloody matter would relieve the emptiness he felt inside.

The Hunter took brief aim, let out a screech, and barreled into his target.

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Sylvester watched from a conveniently placed rooftop as the woman walked cautiously through the blood-spattered street. Something in the back of his mind roared at him to forget it, to leave this one be. But the hunger was too great to pass up. Dead Flesh gave him aches and pains in he stomach; only living, bloody matter would relieve the emptiness he felt inside.

The Hunter took brief aim, let out a screech, and barreled into his target.

(OOC: Sorry for the gravedig...)

Marissa had a terrible feeling that something was coming. And surely, it did, and swiftly at her.

With a startled shriek, Marissa managed to roll out of the way, but just barely. Her heart thudding in her constricted chest (OOC: Shut up), Marissa raised her shotgun and prepared to fire...

Edited by JEDCJT
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...But Kennedy was too quick. The shotgun boomed and hit nothing but empty space. He leapt up once again into the shadows, but something was bugging him. In the human part of his mind. All at once, it came back to him. Kennedy the man surfaced from the depths of a tortured mind.

He tried to get a grasp on his shattered psyche while simultaneously hiding from the questing light searching for him. The woman was good, he'd give her that. But the scent of her fear was intoxicating, driving the barely restrained beast inside to primal rampages he was having a tough time controlling.

Kennedy spoke out in a tentative voice. "Please, don't be afraid."

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Kennedy noticed the distinct change in scent, more from fear to surprise, seriousness, and something he couldn't quite place. It seemed familiar, and yet.... He filed it away for future reference as an unknown. The 'man' gingerly stretched out into the light from the shadows.

And got his first look at her.

"You seem familiar, for some reason..."

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Marissa continued to look at the figure as he steadily walked out of the shadows. Her fear slowly gave away to realization as she looked at the figure before her. He looked so familiar...and she knew.

"S-Sylvester...?" She gasped as she slowly took a step toward him.

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And then he realized. This was the woman sent to meet him, to investigate the occurrences around the city. He stood up straight from his quadruped stance and walked briskly over to her. After shaking hands, he favored her with a grim smile. It didn't quite reach his hidden eyes.

"Things have...changed in the city. When did you get dropped in?" A roar echoed across the city rather close-by. Sylvester's mutated sense of smell noticed the scent of decay, death, and malice getting closer. He abruptly grabbed Marissa's hand and dragged her into the shadows.

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And then he realized. This was the woman sent to meet him, to investigate the occurrences around the city. He stood up straight from his quadruped stance and walked briskly over to her. After shaking hands, he favored her with a grim smile. It didn't quite reach his hidden eyes.

"Things have...changed in the city. When did you get dropped in?" A roar echoed across the city rather close-by. Sylvester's mutated sense of smell noticed the scent of decay, death, and malice getting closer. He abruptly grabbed Marissa's hand and dragged her into the shadows.

Marissa continued to stare at Sylvester as she shook his hand. He looked...different. She was about to open her mouth to reply when Sylvester suddenly grabbed her hand and dragged her into the shadows.

She was taken off-guard so abruptly that she dropped her shotgun. "H-hey! W-what a-are you doing..?!" She protested.

Behind them, a horde of undead people stumbled past the alleyway...

Edited by JEDCJT
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The aura of fear emanating from the woman sitting next to him in darkness intensified when the shambling horde of infected monstrosities wandered through the area. And for an instant, Sylvester teetered on the edge of losing control to the roaring beast within. Only a sheer force of will kept him from turning on her while she had no gun. The infected citizens of the Imperium wandered through the alley, oblivious to the "two" humans in their midst.

After they left, Sylvester breathed a sigh of relief. Only then did he remember he was still holding her hand and withdrew reluctantly. "Lady, you need to stop scaring so easily. The fear is...intoxicating." The slightly offended look she gave him made him think she didn't quite understand the message.

"No, not that way. I want to stay alive, so I'm thinking with the top head." Sylvester shook said appendage a few times in mock sadness. "Anyway, things have gone to hell in the city. As I'm sure you've noticed."

He gave her an evil grin out of nowhere and perfectly mimicked a creepy voice.

"Well, you look nervous. Is it the scars? You want to know how I got 'em? "

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