Laura Elizabeth Watson was a researcher aboard the NOA vessel Odysseus. 20 hours ago an asteroid crashed into the Atlantic 35 miles due east of Baltimore Maryland. Laura was on loan to NOA by NASA. She was the world’s leading expert on deep space mineralogy, having studied tens of thousands of deep space meteors.
They’d been sent to recover this meteor, the technical term for an asteroid once it’s made landfall on the planet, because it was different than anything else they’d ever seen. In the northern hemisphere in early June, meteorites typically fall from the north to the south. This isn’t always the case; it’s just typical of that particular yearly meteor shower, when the earth passes through the remnants of a large asteroid that impacted Deimos, the irregularly shaped smaller moon of Mars. Many of those Deimosian Shower meteorites were actually part of that moon as well as the asteroid that impacted it. This meteor, however, had come from east to west, which means it had come from deep space. Some deep space meteors contained an ultra rare, ultra heavy mineral called argimonium, which NASA had been experimenting with in the use of a new top secret fission propulsion system. Laura’s salary was secure because she was able to find more argimonium than anyone else. It was estimated that there was less than 12 grams of the mineral on the entire planet, Laura had retrieved 5 grams of it herself. NASA needed 2 more grams to power their new engine prototype. Just 8 grams of this mineral would provide propulsion and life support to get 12 men from the earth to Mars and home in under a year. Finding another 2 grams would secure her place in history; propel NASA and The United States of America back to its rightful place as the forerunners of space exploration.
The exact coordinates of impact were recorded by every telescope even remotely under control or coercion of the US government. The ship’s captain, James Watley, calculated the trajectory underwater, using up to the minute current calculations, and was now circling the spot ¾ of a mile away from the impact site where the meteor sat on the bottom of the ocean 4124 feet down.
The ROV drivers Penelope Stevens and Raul Santiago were in place, creating the final preparations for the deep see remotely operated vehicle to start the recovery process. Their mission was to dig a tunnel under the meteor, secure the cargo netting, and inflate the air bags that would bring the celestial body to the surface. A large crane stood ready on the deck to lift the meteor onto the boat.
It took 7 hours for the ROV crew to raise the meteor to the deck. The operation went as smoothly as it could have. As it cleared the water, Laura was waiting with an electron spectra-scope, to scan the find for argimonium. If there was, the US Government would seize the rock for transport back to her lab. If none was found, it would go to NOA for display in a museum or further study.
The instant the rock was securely on deck; Laura stepped forward with the probe of her spectra-scope, watching the infrared screen intently. She was watching so intently in fact that she didn’t notice the surface of the rock seeming to move as she approached. She poked the mound with the probe, surprised to find it almost soft. Certainly softer than any meteor she’d ever discovered.
On the 3rd probe, she began to see significant readings on her spectra-scope, and looked away from the screen at the rock. It had a core of argimonium almost 9 inches in diameter, roughly the size of a basketball. The mineral weighed 14 grams per cubic centimeter, a core that size would weigh over 200lbs. This was enough material for faster than light interstellar travel.
At that exact moment, the surface of the meteor came alive. Black goo oozed up her arm, some of it immediately entering her body through a cut on her hand. The viscous material flowed upward towards her nose and mouth, into her body through any available orifice. Ears, nose, mouth, eyes, it filled her vagina and anus, through the razor nick on her legs, her body absorbed the slimy material.
Laura took one last breath as a human, inhaling the liquid into her lungs. She felt strange, and then she felt nothing.
Laura’s body stood still for a moment. The crane operator, Christian Villines, seeing what was happening, started lifting the rock off the deck to throw it back in the water.
A jet of the remaining gelatinous black ooze shot off of the meteor and smashed into Christian’s face, knocking his hands from the controls of the crane.
Laura’s body, now fully under the control of the parasites, vomited the black gel the parasites secreted to keep them alive in the vastness of space, blew it out of her nose, leaving only the bugs which had by now invaded her brain and started connecting parts of her brain her old human version could never have accessed. This new Laura had access to all the knowledge of the old, plus the areas of the brain that controlled untapped abilities of the human mind.
Laura and Christian straightened, and then disappeared in a puff of vapor. They travelled throughout the ship, infecting each member of the crew. They’d each bitten several dozen people by the time they reappeared behind the ROV operators down in the lower forward hold. Laura pressed her mouth to Penelope, who at first seemed oddly excited, and then felt nothing as the millions of parasites invaded her brain, taking control of her body.
Christian bit Raul Santiago on the shoulder, injecting the parasites into his jugular vein. One quick spurt of blood; then the parasites had control of Raul’s brain, and began to heal the wound to his neck. Christian watched the jagged laceration knit itself closed.
James Watley was last, he’d barricaded himself on the bridge, thinking the doors would save him, when in actuality, everyone had forgotten about him. Finally, Steven McLain, the cook; one of the last to be bitten remembered James up on the bridge, and popped in to bite him on the back of the neck.
When everyone on the ship was infected, she sent out a mental signal for everyone to meet her on the deck.
“It has begun,” Laura said in her deep honeyed voice. “This time do NOT fuck this up. Any humans, who represent the slightest hint of resistance or immunity, eat them. Last time we were here, we failed at this task. Do not fail me again.”
“Christian, you are to go to Asia, and start preparations there. Take McLain and Santiago with you. I’m taking Penelope and Watley with me. We’re going to start by taking over the capital region of America, working our way west. Remember that these bodies cannot handle our maximum reproductive rates; you’ll need to pace yourself, allow time between infections when you create lieutenants. Let your lesser creations bite the masses; keep your own levels up in case you need to create more underlings. This world was lost to us once, do not fail again. Do not create any soldiers until 3 days from now. We need to make sure that there is leadership in place before we start the official invasion”
The rest of you, find various major cities and wait. Create no more than 1 or 2 children per day, give them the same orders. No soldiers until the 3rd day. I’ll let you all know when it’s time to begin creating our army.
With that, the zombies all disappeared in a large puff of vapor. Laura brought Penelope and Watley to BWI Airport, where they reappeared on the top floor of the parking garage.
“Go forth and multiply,” said Laura with a grin, sending Penelope and Watley out. Laura herself chose her victims carefully and slowly. She had to be slow about creating her children, if she bit too many too quickly the last ones would just be soldiers, mindless drones bent on eating and creating more mindless drones. She needed more children to help her fight.
She chose 3 people to bite. Samantha, a happy looking woman about 20 years old, who was just in town from Nebraska, Reginald, a commuter who was on his way to New York for work, and Lisa, another commuter heading to Chicago. By the time the last two got to their destinations, they’d have enough of their larvae built up to produce good quality offspring. From those airports in Chicago, they would spread throughout the world.
“Reginald, Lisa, go about the business of your hosts. Get on the planes. Bite no one until you’re in your destination city’s airport. Do not create any soldiers for 3 days, or I will have your heads.”
“Samantha, you’re staying with me.”
“My host preferred to be called Sam,” said Samantha.
“Ok, Sammie. You’re with me,” replied Laura with a grin. “We’re going to start creating our army here on the east coast. Your job is simple. Visit each small town up the interstate from here north. Create 1 child in each town, and give them the order to wait 3 days to start creating soldiers. You’re probably not strong enough to teleport, so you’ll have to run. Go now.”
Samantha ran off, her form blurring into almost invisibility with the speed. She did as she was told, stopping off in 3 towns north of Baltimore to bite 1 zombie, before stopping off in York, PA for the night.
Laura teleported herself back to the ship, grabbed the 200 pound Argimonium mass from the net swinging lightly above the ship’s deck, and teleported herself back to NASA headquarters, where she appeared in a janitorial closet. She carried the mass lightly under her arm into her office, where she called her boss.
“Tom, you have to come in here. I’ve just returned from the ship.” That was all she said into the telephone before Tom was heading into her office.
“Tom, I hit the jackpot. There’s over 200lbs, that’s well over 90,000 grams. Can you imagine what we can do with that? Faster than light travel? Power the planet indefinitely? The options are limitless. 1 microgram of this would power an automobile for the life of the driver. We could get the US off of foreign oil. We could have free, unlimited energy. This will change the world!”
Tom took a seat. “Laura. We need to brief The President.”
Laura smiled as Tom called the administration’s secretary and set up the appointment for later that day. This was going perfectly.
Samantha found a hotel in York, PA. She stepped into the lobby of the old, shabby super 8 hotel on Market Street in York, and rented a room for the night. The man behind the counter asked her for her identification. She wasn’t sure if she should give it, and she hadn’t yet created a child in York yet. So she walked through the door of the hotel and bit him on the neck. Right as her teeth clamped down on the man behind the counter, she heard a shotgun blast, and felt the impact on her midsection. The blast jarred her away from her prey, throwing her to the ground. She felt her guts knitting back together as the woman who’d shot her came and stood over her with the shotgun.
Samantha jumped up, and with all of her speed, took the shotgun and shot the woman in the head, her movements a blur.
“Fuck. Now look what you’ve done!” she screamed at the headless corpse.
Samantha grabbed the corpse’s feet and dragged it into the office, as the man she’d just barely bitten shambled off outside, forgotten in her rush to clean up the scene.
The zombie-soldier staggered out into the street, and turned down George St. towards a group of 6 kids standing on the corner. It stumbled up to the kids, only one thought in the remnants of its brain. Eat.
Less than 3 minutes later, seven zombies staggered down the street, heading off in all different directions, each with only a single thought. Eat.