June 7th, 2008
T.Rex gathered the Fools once more for a meal. The attic crew was happy to avoid the rapidly increasing temperature, the inventory crew was happy to take a break from the monotony of counting and listing. Both groups were making great progress, they reported, as a few cans of cold condensed soup was shared seven ways.
"Anybody know what today is?" Ryan asked the assembled group as lunch wound down. Cowboy was the first to correctly identify the date, and the Fools stared at Ryan, expectantly.
"I thought of something this morning," T.Rex began. "I know Benji's wedding was postponed earlier this year. However, I think it's fitting that the original date was today. I remember because he kept telling us to think of six seven oh eight. We always used to joke about the zombpocalypse breaking out during his wedding vows. Y'know, about the groomsmen being chosen to defend against the living dead. To think, if it hadn't been for his medical internship pushing it back, who knows what might have actually happened."
Renee was the first to comment. "Wait, you really think the outbreak is threatening that far?"
"Well, we don't really have any accurate knowledge about how far this thing has gone," said Angel Hair.
"It depends a lot on how this all started," Rubble chimed in.
Ryan shrugged. "Well, along those lines, I think it started here at Purdue. I know that might sound crazy, but perhaps it was a virus that escaped containment?"
"That's biologically unsound!" Beard said, incredulously.
"I hadn't heard anything about any zombies until I got the call from Beard," Kamikaze said. "I was pretty sure Purdue didn't have anything like that, especially not on campus where students might access it."
"They don't, trust me. I'm in the freakin' biology program," Beard said, defensively. "The only thing I can think of is that some jackass brought some exotic materials here as part of a special research project and it somehow got into the wrong hands. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary outside of Purdue, though."
Ryan sighed. "Unless anybody can tell me there was another outbreak or at least reason to suspect a different source, it's my guess that this started here. Otherwise we probably would've heard more strange news reports, or at least suspicious activity, right?"
The group seemed unsure, but some nodded.
"Well, any other theories about how this started? Perhaps it was nanotechnology gone astray?" Peace offered.
"That's even more biologically unsound!" Beard said emphatically.
Cowboy spoke up once more. "Okay, I think the way it started is kind of irrelevant, guys."
"Okay, well, even if we ignore the cause, we can still make some educated guesses about the outbreak and the spread," Kamikaze said.
"I'm thinking at least a Class 2 outbreak," Ryan said. "That means at least Purdue, West Lafayette, and probably Lafayette across the river are in immediate danger. My best guess on what I could gather before initiating our plan was that Patient Zero came from somewhere near Harrison Street. That's somewhere around here. That initial infection got to a few others who stayed in the Student Health Center, one of which stayed.
"From there, who knows what the fuck happened. I think a construction worker got infected, my neighbor may have gotten it, the missing grad student, and a shadowy attacker on Tapawingo that nearly got me just the other night. None of which I recognize out there, by the way. Not that I know what they all look like dead-on. Uh, no pun intended.
"Plus, I should note the Police phones were out two nights ago and we've had power outages. Between the thousands of people coming and going for Purdue conferences, the commuting professors and students, and the tons of other people coming and going for academics, lectures, classes, facilities, etc., and who knows where an infected could've ended up. I highly doubt this has stayed just on our campus, but I don't think it's hit Class 3 yet."
"Well let's hope not," Peace said. "Class 3 is global, and we're pretty much all screwed then."
"I guess it might also depend on how long the victims take to die of an infection, and then reanimate," Rubble noted. "Because if it's relatively quick, nobody could get very far before becoming a zombie. If it took longer, they could carry the infection further."
Ryan hesitated before continuing. "I heard somebody say they got infected at a late-night party, and then the next morning they were feeling ill and unless I was mistaken, died shortly thereafter." He hoped the others would not interrogate him about how he'd broken into the neighbor's house, and how he'd seen firsthand the man slowly fade away.
"Well," Beard said. "I think we can estimate a statewide threat, for now. I will make sure the phones are all checked after we clean up here. Unless there are messages, I'm gonna make some calls and try to get this information out."
"Wait," Kamikaze interjected. "Ryan, you said that people are coming in for Purdue conferences, right?"
"Yes..." he trailed off, unsure of where this was headed.
"Those conferences are, what, 50-1,000 people at a time? And they stay in the residence halls?"
"Uh-huh..." Ryan nodded.
"Well, what about Jenny? She's working at Hillenbrand right now!"
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