Agent Zee, a Russian secret agent turned into a zombie via a super-solider project gone wrong, is tasked with rescuing a kidnapped celebrity musician. The musician is also an amateur sleuth who got too close to the mystery behind the Art Heist of 1989. During the summer of ’89, two unknown thieves stole millions of dollars’ worth in artwork donated to the United States by the Russian government as an act of goodwill. The two thieves were last seen in Florida just before a category four hurricane hit the state.
Soon after arriving at the warehouse where the kidnappers held the musician, Zee spotted three of the ’89 paintings. His gasp altered the kidnappers to his presence; they then shot him in the head. Even though Zee is a zombie, the headshot did not kill him but merely stunned him. While stunned, memories of his life from before his transformation flooded his mind.
Soviet Russia, late 1970s/early 1980s…
The elegant bathroom sparkled like diamonds. The lights reflecting off the smooth surfaces and fancy, glass tables caused an almost blinding effect. The band played a mid-tempo song for the dancers. Agent [REDACTED] entered the hall looking dapper in his tux, tails, and cummerbund. (Just to make things simpler we’ll continue to call him Agent Zee or Zee; his real name has been classified.)
“Agent Zee,” said a soft voice that sounded like it belonged to some noir movie femme fatale.
Zee tore his attention away from the swaying dancers and socializers. His eyes widened in awe of the stunning woman with ear-length black hair that looked like it was treated daily by a skilled beautician. Her short-sleeve dress fit her well. Her necklace and earrings complimented her almost neon green eyes.
“Monica,” said Zee.
She touched his still human skin. The touch brought memories of their time in Peru hunting down a rouge doctor. Intel told that the man wanted to harvest a rare flower that could bring the dead to life. Turned out he was a she, and she was working for a group known only as the Clay Men.
“What are you doing here?” asked Zee.
“Most likely the same as you,” she said making sure her British accent was noticeable. Monica worked with British intelligence. The two met on a mission in Paris. Each were there to sabotage the goals of the other—so much time had passed Zee could not remember what the goals were. The two spent weeks “getting” the other. It was like watching two kids during a prank war. Zee would foil her plans and then she would snare him in a trap. Eventually, the two realized both were after the same thing, which was also about the time they realized they’d fallen for each other. “Cooperation is far better than failure,” Monica said that day.
Zee hoped that Monica was not here now dealing with the same trouble he was…it could jeopardize the mission; or worse, they could be on opposite sides.
The band changed to a slower song. Monica took Zee’s hand in hers. Soon, the two were moving in time to the music, all thoughts of missions and possible betrayal out of their minds. Zee’s instincts screamed, “Distractions get you killed!” but he didn’t listen. He couldn’t.
The other dancers faded from Zee’s vision as everything became her. He placed his arms around her. She took a long inhale of his smell. Some part of Zee knew that she was supposed to smell his decaying, undead corpse. He looked into her eyes. Maybe…maybe it was the talisman. Agent Zee always wore a talisman around his neck that blocked his zombie smell.
What zombie smell? He wasn’t a zombie; he was human. Wasn’t he? Monica’s eyes and lips made his head feel fuzzy.
The two swayed and twirled to the hypnotic music. Monica looked into Zee’s eyes. Could she see his milky, dead eyes? No, she couldn’t; he wasn’t a zombie yet. But, how could he be alive? He’d been shot…hadn’t he?
Zee’s head swam as if he’d been drinking all night.
Monica placed a finger to his lips. “Shhh…” she said. Tears formed along the edges of her eyes. As the two moved, she sang in time to the music.
Don’t be alarmed.
Don’t be afraid.
Don’t be ashamed.
What happened is fate.
I love you,
My better tomorrow.
She stepped back from Zee then held out her hand. Something was wrong. The dizziness increased. Was that blood he felt leisurely strolling down his cheek? How could that be? He has no blood. No, no, he has blood; he’s human…that thing was a nightmare. He’s not a monster. He did not defect to the Americans. The lies, secrets, and abuse from Russia had been propaganda. It was the Americans who created the vile experiments on his comrades.
Comrades…he hadn’t used that term in a long time. They couldn’t trust a turncoat spy. Or could they? The International League of Super-Transbeings welcomed him…even though he was undead and a traitor.
Monica continued to sing in time to the music.
Take my hand.
This is not the end.
My love is forever.
Now is your destiny.
My love remains.
The room started to spin. Zee felt short on breath. Was he dying? Could he die? Pulsing veins of dark light tugged at his eyes. At first, Zee thought he was simply feeling the excitement and joy of seeing a loved one again; but no, it was the drugs. Zee never saw her inject him.
Don’t be alarmed.
Don’t be afraid.
This is meant to be.
Take my hand.
This is not the end.
Now is your destiny.
My love remains.
Nothingness soon followed.
When Zee finally opened his eyes, he was once more in the laboratory of Dr. Trimble, the man who began his transformation into a zombie. Zee tested the chair’s restraints and found them not lacking in the least.
The Russian government, or at least the part working with the Xacians, ran may experiments and projects during the Cold War. The Xacians wanted the perfect soldier so they could rule this universe and one day every reality. The Russians wanted a perfect solider so they could beat the Americans. Ironically, the Xacians were also working with the Americans.
Zee was the Project [REDACTED] prototype. As you can guess, it didn’t go quite as expected.
After the first treatment, Zee discovered the real intent of the Xacians. He reported it to his supervisors; they already knew.
“Why are we not fighting them?” asked Zee.
“We don’t care,” said a general. “Our main purpose is to destroy the United States; once that is accomplished, we will deal with these invaders.”
And it wasn’t just the alien invaders the supervisors didn’t care about; it was the volunteers. Some of the men in charge didn’t care about Russia; they believed with the United States destroyed, the other nations would fall into line.
Agent Zee fled.
Now years later, Zee learned of Trimble’s latest plan. He created enhanced super-locusts; he planned to unleash them upon the world’s crops. Once there was no food, the populace would come to him, and by extension the Xacians.
Zee soon located Monica standing behind a nearby desk. Her eyes were cast to the floor. Just as Zee feared, Monica was with Dr. Trimble. Members of the British government wanted the locusts to attack the US and weaken it. They were still mad about the Revolutionary War and were easily seduced by the Xacians. The rogue officials believed that once the US surrendered its independence, the other ex-British colonies would do the same.
Zee nearly spat venom at Dr. Trimble. “Was there ever a locust plot or was this merely a lure to finish my treatments?”
“Of course, there was; I am a genius,” said Trimble. “I can multitask.” Trimble leaned closer to the electric chair-like machine which imprisoned Zee. “You will be the first in a new line of soldier: quick, strong, loyal, and indestructible. You will never hunger or thirst. You’ll never need to sleep.”
Dr. Trimble was right on a few things. Zee is virtually indestructible even to the point where he can operate his severed limbs; he is slightly stronger than the average person; and he can be quick when he wants. He’s also an excellent digger.
As for the “loyal” bit…just wait.
“Once the transformation is complete,” said Trimble, “you will lead the locusts across the world. All will bow to me!”
“Except for the UK, right?” said Monica.
An evil glint appeared in the eyes of Dr. Trimble. “What part of ‘all will bow to me’ did you not understand?”
“But we agreed!”
Dr. Trimble laughed. “Foolish woman!” He reached for the machine’s lever. It would begin the process. Monica grabbed Trimble’s wrist. “Vile child!” He slapped Monica; she let out a yelp and stumbled. “I’ll teach you to betray me!” He slapped her again. She stumbled again and fell against the table; she went silent.
“You psychotic slime!” shouted Zee. His face turned red, the last time his skin would have any color. He strained against the bonds.
Trimble reached for the lever. “Don’t worry, my child, in a moment you won’t care…about anything.”
The lever was pulled. Multicolored lightning coursed through Zee’s mortal frame. Liquid fire, which looked similar to the northern lights, flooded his DNA and mind. It felt like an eternity, but it was only a couple seconds.
Once the device was off, Zee’s head dropped. Trimble approached the chair confidently and unhooked the restraints. “Rise, my creation,” he said.
Zee stood, but it was reminiscent to watching a marionette stand.
“Look at me, my darling slave.”
Heh-heh, Zee looked at him all right. Trimble reeled backwards, arms pinwheeling. Zee’s face was decayed. You could see bits of bone and muscle along his cheeks and mouth. His skin was pale. And boy, did he smell. Zee spoke gibberish as he reached towards Dr. Trimble.
“This is not right,” said Trimble. “You are supposed to be a mindless slave—obedient to me alone!”
Zee inched closer to the slowly retreating doctor; he mumbled something again before clearly saying, “Monica,” in a half-dead voice. Then in a flash of speed, Zee had the doctor on the ground. It’s unclear if he attacked the doctor out of revenge for hurting Monica or simply because Zee was a mindless zombie.
I, ahem, think you can figure out what happened next.
“Braaaains,” said Zee.
So, let’s fast-forward to after the Trimble appetizer and even past the part where Zee returned to the party…still hungry. Luckily, the party was for some not nice people who wanted to purchase the mad scientist’s toys.
It wasn’t until the drug cartel dessert platter that Zee realized his wits were returning. The all-you-can-eat brain buffet changed him from a slow, mindless zombie into a slow, super-spy zombie.
With his previous intelligence restored—and the collective knowledge of some of the worst people on the planet—he returned to the laboratory. He found no sign of Monica or any sign of the genetically altered locusts.
Copyright 2020 Joe Rover. All rights reserved.
Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.