(A group story, if anyone else wants to join in. And now for the show . . . .)
Look, guys, I know you're not going to want to hear this, but it's going to start, and soon.
I have some info about the situation, and some happy little facts that explain a ton more than you'll hear on the news, but you can't hear it from me.
Towards that end, I've hacked her account (at least I assume that "Narshalla" is a female name,) and am doing my best to imitate her style of writing.
And yes, I've read MJOTZY, and if she didn't have such a strong password, I'd have used Kathy's account, instead, because everyone would read it if Momma Hen wrote it. Narshalla, you dolt, change your password, the one you have now is weak
. I just pray that you aren't dumb enough to have this password for more than one account, but given how easy this one was, you probably do.
First and foremost, it's not a virus or a bacterium; instead, all of this is caused by a base prion that is supercharged by a toxin. Does everyone remember Mad Cow Disease? Good, then you know that a base prion is just a bit of misfolded protein. It's tiny, because this one seems to share a large part of its genetic code with the polio virus, with just enough in common with CJD to scare the hell out of us.
No, I'm not going to tell you who "us" is.
The second step of this process was the toxin that comes from, if you can believe it, Bufo alvarius, or the Colorado River toad or Sonoran Desert toad (they're the same same species.) Yes, that's right, the first true zombies were toad-licking stoners.
The third part of the equation, the part that triggered the process, was a rather esoteric combination of drugs. The fact that they were prescribed for a legitimate medical condition is no longer relevant; just know that the trigger mechanism caused the toxins found in the secretions of Bufo alvarius to supercharge, for want of a better word, the base prion that turned an otherwise harmless stoner into a horror-film monster.
As it is no longer relevant, I will not bother to name the drugs or the condition they were treating; it is entirely unlikely that the combination -- base prion, Bufo alvarius use, and medicine usage at correct dosages-- will occur again accidentally.
The next point I must convey is the process of transmission. Oddly enough, Hollywood got this one right; bites spread it, but blood and other body fluids do not.
Why? Because it's not a virus, you moron!
The base prion is one of those background contaminates that are too numerous to name, and without the trigger, the average human body fights it off with no problem. If the immune system is compromised, without the trigger, you'll die of something else first; the average cold virus is immeasurably stronger than the base prion. For all that it's weak, though, it is very pervasive. Roughly 92% of the blood samples we've tested have it in minute quantities, though no-one had high enough levels, as near as we can tell, to trigger the immune system's active defenses. We know that it is transmitted via bodily fluids; it appears to be present in some water supplies, as well. It's weak, but we've discovered that UV light will not kill the base prion, though bleach will.
How, exactly, is this relevant to you? Simple. This means that you are probably already infected with the base prion, and at levels that are low enough to escape detection from all but the most sophisticated tests. You might be infected at levels too low to detect even with all these sophisticated tests; one of the men who tested negative still turned, even though the base prion cannot be found in saliva with the trigger venom. As long as you avoid getting bitten, the base prion will stay at almost undetectable levels. If you, by chance, have HIV/AIDS and run out of your medicine, you'll die from an opportunistic infection, not the base prion, and you won't come back.
If you have a decent level of reading comprehension, you will notice that I used the term "trigger venom." That was deliberate on my part, and I'm glad you caught that, because it's important. Very
The trigger is a venom produced in the salivary glands of a zombie. If the skin is broken, it infects the flesh and eventually makes its way to the bloodstream where it effects a rapid change in the aforementioned prion. The prion then alters the proteins of the entire body, including the brain. Muscles are altered so that they no longer need oxygen; most nerve signals are shut down, though not the ones that control movement. Blood stops clotting, wounds no longer heal, and bruises continue to spread. This is good news for those that are still alive; enough wounds will incapacitate, even if they won't kill.
Just a hint -- as they no longer feel pain, zombies can be incapacitated via "death bay a thousand cuts," if you catch the reference.
Back to the subject at hand. The brain appeared, at first, to be one of the last organs to show the effects of the supercharged prion; though with further study, we no longer believe this to be the case. In every case study where we knew the time of envenomization, 115 to 125 minutes after, the subject always expressed exhaustion and proceeded to fall asleep; between two and six hours later, the process appears to be complete and subject, now a zombie, awoke with violence on what was left of its mind. Please bear in mind, though, every case we have had to study involved only a bite that reached the muscle; in the two cases where a vein or artery was punctured, the victim's blood did not clot and they bled out, despite, in both cases, the tourniquets that had been applied.
Another, rather obvious, alteration occurs to the salivary glands. They change to produce the venom that triggers the supercharging of the base prion that causes the zombification process that cause the changes to the salivary glands . . . And I'm sure you get the point.
Now, at this point, you're probably asking, "Who the hell is this person and why is he telling us this?" Well, that's two stupid questions, so you're not going to get an answer.
Instead, you should be asking, "Wait, if UV light does not the base prion, why is the base prion not found in saliva?" I will
answer this one. Because while the base prion is not affected by UV light, the superprion is
. Also, in the presence of the venom, all
of the base prion turns into the superprion, so once the salivary glands start to produce the venom, the base prion converts, then gets hit by UV and dies.
One thing to keep in mind -- the superprion does not actually kill the person, so it is more than possible that the heart will continue to beat until the body loses blood to the point where there is nothing left to pump, at which point it may or may not stop. However, the body of a zombie is no longer warm-blooded, that is, it does not produce any of its own heat and thus will assume room temperature at the same speed a corpse would. Roughly speaking, this means that the core temperature will adjust approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit towards the ambient temperature every hour. This will happen faster in water.
So, how do you kill them? Shoot them in the head. Sadly, this is not the end of the process. The superprion will remain active until the cell it lives in is destroyed, so a severed arm, no longer attached to the brain, will still move, though with no purpose; fortunately, it can also no longer infect you. The next step involves destroying the body. Freezing allows water crystals to form in each individual cell, rupturing them, and heat destroys cells by altering the proteins to the point that they no longer function, and the superprion will die. The natural decomposition process takes a long time, but all evidence appears to support the conclusion that natural decomposition is effective, as well.
And lastly, can a person be infected by the superprions from gore splatter? Oddly enough, no, the superprion itself
will not infect a person, not even when it gets into the mucus membranes and not even when it gets directly int the bloodstream. It requires the venom from the bite to trigger the base prion that already exists in each individual person.
But keep in mind, there are some things we do not know. So far, in every case we have seen, the skin has been broken. We do not know what will happen when a non-penetrating bite occurs.
We do not know what will happen when someone with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or any other systemic illness or disease gets bitten.
We do not know what will happen when someone with cerebral palsy or another nervous system disorder gets bitten.
We do not know what will happen, if, God forbid, someone were to decide to consume some of the contaminated flesh, as revolting as that seems.
And there you go. That is all I know, and now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Stay alive, people, stay alive.
And if Narshalla doesn't change her password to an unpredictable one soon enough, I'll try to let you know when the ball really begins to roll.
(Please direct all comments/questions that are not part of the story here