Read AZU-1: Lifehack Online

Authors: Joseph Picard

AZU-1: Lifehack (16 page)

BOOK: AZU-1: Lifehack
5.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

As they drew deeper into the outskirts,
a mob of two dozen or so zombies rumbled out of an alley. “Enemy
contact!” Alisia called out. For the number that were there, Alisia
felt justified in pulling forth her ‘Bad Mojo’. She aimed the bulky
weapon, and was deciding on where in the group to place the
fragmenting shell when crackling erupted behind them.

Sustained fire from Parker and two
other zipper operators shredded the zombie formation. A dusty
squirming pile was soon all that remained. Regan looked back at the
speck far away that housed Parker. “Nice one, boys!” she

Happy to be of service,
Miss.” Parker grinned.

Hey, what’s that?” Regan
said, pointing at the Bad Mojo.

Magnetic Rail driven frag
grenade launcher. All cold kinetic damage, so as not to violate the
‘no explosions’ rule.”



What’s this no explosions

For some reason, we’re not
allowed to use explosive devices in the city.”

Hm. I have a few nasty
things squirreled away that I’ve never used.. maybe a good thing I
didn’t... what would happen?”

Don’t know.. only the
higher-ups do.”

Hm. Can I play with


The next while was pretty quiet. The
bridge shadow had them, not to mention the taller buildings doing
their best to rob any glimmer of sunlight that dared to squeeze by.
The brightness of the sun behind them felt like another

Hey, Alisia, got any
non-fragmenting bullets?”

No, what for?”

Eh, I have a stockpile
nearby. I wanna pick a couple up.”


A block to the side or so, Regan opened
up a dumpster and jumped in. After a little bit of rummaging she
came out with fresh ammo that would fit into the handgun she
procured at the base.


Chapter 23: Rest


For some reason, Regan seemed pleased
at the general location of her brother’s VTag. It seemed she had
something planned. “This’ll be easy.” Regan said. Alisia didn’t see
what was so hard about blowing away one more zombie.

It wasn’t long before they snuck up on
a group of four zombies mulling about heedlessly in the end of an
alley. One of them was carrying around a pink plastic flamingo, a
popular item among the zombies. There had been a factory in the
city that made them, and for whatever reason the zombies seemed
fascinated with them. Another wore fisherman’s hip-waders. Another
had T-shirt that said ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’. The last one was
pretty plain, as zombies go. What he did have though, was a glowing
VTag superimposed on the base of his skull. Here was Harold

Ok, say when.” Alisia said,
aiming her P90.

Don’t hit


Just don’t. Blast the other


Regan took aim and gave the word. The
three others were torn down. Harold drew his attention to the girls
and began walking towards them.

Let’s go.” Regan said,
turning around.

What? Aren’t you going to
finish him?”

Exactly. Finish him good.
Not like that.” Regan pointed at the felled zombies, still
squirming and making horrid sounds. “We’re going to do this

The two of them walked about half a
block ahead of Harold, who mindlessly chased them as fast as he
could go. Poor Harold was unlucky enough to not only be a zombie,
but to be one of those really, really slow zombies.

They soon came to a factory. Here,
Regan knew she’d have to get Harold a lot closer or he might lose
sight of them and lose interest. As Harold got closer, Regan
leveled her P90. “Sorry bout this bro.” She fired a burst, and the
fragmenting bullets took off his left arm. He moaned, and Regan’s
face showed a bit of pity. She took aim again and took off the
other arm.

Those arms used to hug her not so long
ago. Look at them now; rotten, discarded meat in the road. Harold
kept trudging forward. Now his only weapon was his

Regan let him get close, then quickly
grabbed him into a headlock.

Ew.” Alisia said. Regan
dragged Harold into the factory, and Alisia followed, P90 at the
ready. They came to a large room with a massive metal

Alisia, can you open that?”
The effort of keeping hold of Harold as he struggled and tried to
bite was no small feat.

Alisia opened the metal door and saw
inside a small metal room with blackened holes along the walls,
ceiling and floor, and fine grey dust in the corners. Alisia now
understood the plan and stepped aside.

Regan was struggling a bit with Harold.
Even ‘perfectly armless’, a zombie had considerable strength. She
tossed him into the small room and stood back. Harold flopped
around a bit and began to stand. Regan pulled out the pistol and
loaded the non-fragmenting rounds.

Rest, Harold.” She fired
once into his chest, where once, a good heart pumped. Harold
staggered back and Regan slowly closed the door with a resounding
thud. Regan leaned back against the door. Soon, scuffing sounds
were heard against the door and Regan winced, and pointed at a
large red button over to the side.

Alisia went to it, and after getting a
nod from Regan, pressed it.

The sealed metal room rumbled violently
as it flooded with flame. Regan slumped to the ground. After a
minute the sound subsided.

Regan got up and opened the door. A
wave of heat escaped, and a bit of grey dust. She stood there for a
while to let the room cool down. When she thought she could stand
it, she stepped closer and knelt by the freshest pile of dust by
the door. She used her finger to sift through the dust and found
what she was after. The bullet she shot into his heart.

Let’s go.”

They walked in silence through the
growing shadows of the city, eventually coming to the park near
Regan’s ‘home’. She led Alisia over to a spot by a tree that had
gone fairly undisturbed. The grass here had been cut in the last
month or two, unlike the rest of the park that was wildly

A foot wide hole had been dug there.
Regan walked up to the hole and tossed in the bullet from Harold’s
body. She shoved dirt on top of it with her hands and stomped it
down. Alisia stood nearby, not wanting to interfere. Regan pulled a
silver ring out of her pocket and tossed it on the little mound of
dirt, and stepped back.

..... it’s

Only a few quiet moments had passed
when an uninvited guest appeared from behind. A lone zombie
staggered towards them.

Regan bristled with anger and charged
it, with only her leather-gloved fists at the ready. Alisia called
to her, but Regan would not hear. Possessed by rage, Regan proved
too fast for this lone zombie. A wild swing knocked it back, and a
second blow knocked it down. It tried to get up but Regan kicked
and kicked as she screamed and cried. After a some lucky essential
blows broke enough brittle bones, it was no longer able to

She staggered back and looked at it.
Her fist had a smear of its blood, her boot was a gory mess. Her
eyes blurred with tears.

Did I say it was over?” she
called to it. No reply.

Did I say I was finished?!”
She yelled. It laid motionless, save for the twitches and writhing
all zombies made in defeat.

stared at it and caught her breath while Alisia just stared,

Finally Regan stumbled back to the
little grave and sank to her knees, suddenly feeling so tired. She
was still trying to catch her breath. Alisia knelt down beside
Regan and put a hand on her shoulder.

It’ll be okay now.” Alisa
said, almost as a question.

Regan put her hand on Alisia’s. Her
breathing eased a bit. “Thank you.”

They sat there for a while, quiet and

At length, Regan took a deep breath.
“Alright. Let’s go. I can leave the city for good now.” They got up
and began to leave. Regan looked back at the grave with a little

You goof. You and your
stupid nanites. Look where it got you.”

Alisia stopped suddenly.

Yeah, you know, the stupid
little robots that make the zombies move?”

......... what?”

What, what?”


Chapter 24: Nanites, DUH.


So,” Alisia said, speaking
through the comm to the Major, “It seems that AutarLabs was working
these microscopic little robots, and these little suckers were
organized from a separate computer, run by some kind of customized
A.I. or something.”

The Major paused in consideration and
responded. “So... what, you’re saying that this whole thing is
caused by a crazy A.I.? Why? How?”

Well, not sure how, but
Regan’s brother was in the middle of figuring it out when he died.
Some interns were killed without explanation and then bam, shit hit
the fan.”

All this time... and Regan
Grier knew about these things all along?” The Major was a little

Yup.” Regan said, “I didn’t
think it was a secret!”

So there is no biological
infection,” the Major mulled, “which is why we never found any
virus or anything.”

And if you think about it,”
Alisia added, “when we burn wounds, that’ll destroy any nanites.
Any of them that are recognizable at that point might just walk
away before we get any zombie flesh under a microscope.”

What a fine mess. There’s
going to be some heads rolling over this muck-up. So what we need
to do is unplug the AutarLabs computer running the A.I.” The Major
said, starting go get excited, “And this could be all

Parker joined in. “I’ve just put a VTag
on AutarLabs.”

Regan, you up for this?”
Alisia asked.

That easy, huh? Sure, why


AutarLabs was quiet. They carefully
made their way in, and met no resistance.

If this A.I. were so
important, you’d think it would protect itself by having a lot of
zombies around.” Alisia said.

Don’t jinx it!” Regan said.
“You should have seen the guy I had to take out to get here the
first time after the breakout.”

Their exploration through the darkened
halls continued without incident. After covering a few floors
around where Harold’s lab had been, they finally came to an
important looking set of doors. They looked at each over and
nodded. Alisia wore a nervous smile of anticipation and gripped her
P90 tight.

Regan stepped forward and kicked the
right door open. It swung open and bounced back, slamming

Too much gusto.” Regan
said. “Did you see any zombies?”

No,” Alisia said, still
aiming at the door, “But I saw computer towers.”

The two calmly entered, cautious for
any sort of trap. Regan had been here about two years ago, but she
was looking for Harold, nothing else. It was a large room, lit even
worse than the halls. Row after row of server towers stood dark and
dead, except for one desktop machine. Its lights glowed faintly
from atop a desk in the corner of the room. They carefully crept
over to it as if it would jump out at them.

The screen was on but blank, so Alisia
wiggled the mouse, and sure enough a display popped up. Alisia sat
down in front of it. It was some kind of list. At the top, it
identified this machine as ‘Server 0001’

It’s a server list. There’s
hundreds..” Alisia mumbled to herself. The list in fact went well
into the thousands. “Whatever, let’s just shut it down.” She
reached over to the machine’s tower but found no power button. “The
hell?” She dragged the tower forward. On the back there was plugs
for a keyboard, a mouse, and the monitor. That’s it.

Uh, Regan, this computer
apparently runs on pixie dust.”

What are you talking
about?” Regan leaned in, and saw that where a power plug is usually
found, there was a smooth metal plate. “Hey, and how can it be
monitoring servers if it’s not plugged into a net connection or

Well, it could be internal
wireless network stuff... and maybe a battery? A... really good
battery? Two years?”

They grabbed the case off of the desk
and plunked it on the floor. Alisia found a screwdriver nearby and
opened it up. They weren’t terribly familiar with computer innards,
but one part was labeled ‘Airnet wireless LAN adapter’.

There ya go. That’s
probably controlling all the nanites.” Alisia said. “That list must
be the separate nanites it’s controlling.”

BOOK: AZU-1: Lifehack
5.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Chianti Classico by Coralie Hughes Jensen
Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey
Alien Taste by Wen Spencer
My Single Friend by Jane Costello
Return to the Chateau by Pauline Reage
Damned by Logic by Jeffrey Ashford
Sentimental Journey by Janet Dailey