"Survivors of the Apocalypse"

(Voice of Columbus)

The virus that causes Human Psychotic Necrotizing Encephalopathy is believed to have originated from contaminated Mexican livestock feed. Because of its fast-acting nature, it was quickly detected, and most infected livestock and contaminated meat were quickly destroyed. But one batch reached Joe's Gas 'N Gulp in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At least fifty people were infected before health authorities shut down the station. By then it was too late. Poor Sooner bastards. (Sooner Schooner overturned by zombies.)

The virus causes damage both internal and external, particularly severe lesions of the skin and massive inflammation of the brain. Victims become hyperagressive toward all humans not already infected. They become insensitive to pain (zombie burns face trying to eat off hot skillet) but more sensitive to light (zombies run toward, then stagger away from, Luxor light), sound (zombies converge on man dialing cell phone), and smell. (Zombie sniffs man in zombie makeup, then attacks him.) A growing body of evidence suggests that attacks on uninfected humans are based less on the desire for food than an extreme form of intraspecies aggression. When they only want food, studies suggest they prefer peanut butter.

Symptoms of the virus manifest between 4 and 24 hours after exposure. Type I infections, believed to represent about 50% of cases, produce symptoms quickly. The especially sudden onset of inflammation in the brain makes them the most violent but least intelligent of the infected. (Zombie bares its teeth at own reflection, then attacks the mirror.) The infection is fatal within days or even hours. 50-60% of the infected not killed by other causes are believed to have expired in this manner. (Zombie keels over and lands on a pile of other, deceased zombies.)

Type II infections, believed to represent 30-40% of cases, result in a slower deterioration of the brain. They lose whatever skills and intelligence remain. (Zombie struggles to push open a door. Sign: PULL.) They may even become docile and responsive to commands. This is a danger in itself, as it may blind others to the fact that they are contagious. (Man calls female zombie toward him.)

Type III infections, representing at least 10% of cases, represent the greatest long-term threat. Deterioration of the brain is slow and plateaus at a relatively early stage. This leaves them with a relatively high intelligence, including tool-using abilities. (Zombie fractures car window with rock.) They remain aggressive in their pursuit of the uninfected, and are able to exercise tactics and planning in carrying out this pursuit. (Man running from group of zombies is attacked by one that lunges at him from a doorway as he passes.)

(Voice of Wichita)

A high proportion of uninfected survivors were those who had previously lived as criminals. (Wichita and Little Rock drive away, leaving Branson by roadside.) Members of motorcycle gangs were especially successful. They were able not only to fight off infected attackers, but to remain highly mobile. (Bikers drive between wrecked cars blocking a road.) They collected large quantities of negotiable goods. (Bikers remove rings from severed fingers.) They sought out new sources of food and fuel. (With shaking hands, Branson unfolds map and starts pointing out locations to bikers.)

The bikers' ranks, however, soon began to dwindle. Some became infected. Some died in accidents (Biker with no helmet loses top of head to semi side mirror) or from lack of access to routine medical care. (Biker is torn apart by zombies while sitting in a blood pressure testing machine. Reading: 0.0.) Others were killed in battles with would-be victims, remnants of law enforcement (Biker and motorcycle cop lie dead; a second biker steals the cop's helmet), and each other (Branson shoots biker chief in front of cheering gang).

But, even as numbers declined, remaining groups have become better organized. They have obtained body armor (Branson passes out bullet-proof vests in abandoned police station), better weapons (Machine gun and missile launcher are mounted on motorcycle sidecar), and vehicles (M60 tank painted with skull and crossbones rolls over abandoned cars on freeway). They form alliances with other gangs. (Bikers line up to shake hands with Branson in front of tank.) They stockpile fuel (Gas is siphoned from abandoned cars and poured into oil tanker truck), food (Tank hauls away refrigerated milk truck) and other supplies. They have created a support staff able to maintain their vehicles (man in military uniform repairs tank) and provide medical care. (Nurse treats biker Enid for stab wound.) Finally, they are mapping out where to find untapped resources. (Branson thrusts knife into map at location of Las Vegas.) They are, after the infected, the greatest threat to the survival of the Circus community.

(Voice of Columbus)

So until next time, remember, the zombies aren't the only threat out there. Be smart. Be safe.

(Voice of Wichita)

And work together.