Got these in the mail today, from John Ringo's publishers at Baen. A while back John asked me if I'd be up for doing a story in the anthology he was collecting, set in his Black Tide Rising narrative world; a zombie epic. I like those books, because the lead character, unusually for an American title, is Australian, and even more unusually for zombie fiction, they're great fun and they hold out the real prospect of hope. A bit like Max Brook's World War Z, BTR is as much about the fightback as the collapse.
Having enjoyed teleporting the crew of the Diamantina into S.M. Stirling's emberverse, I decided to catch up with an old fave with this one too. Caitlin Monroe. The story begins exactly as it does in Without Warning. And then things get bitey.
...She was about to cut the call when Wales spoke again.
“Caitlin, your immunisation. It worked? You were exposed to the blood borne pathogen when you were bitten. You’re still good to go?”
“Still got my pants on and I haven’t bitten anybody,” she said. “Not even peckish.”
“Good. Be aware that Bateman and Le Clerc have not been immunized.”
She regarded the thick smears of drying blood on Le Clerc’s face.
Caitlin cut the call as they emerged from the corridor through another set of swinging plastic doors into what looked like the ER. It was a medieval vision of Hell on Earth. A writhing mound of human bodies had piled up at the exit where a hundred or more people had been trapped while trying to escape. They could not all fit through the sliding doors at the same time, and nobody was inclined to wait patiently while a dozen naked, blood drenched fiends raked and tore at the edge of the crush.
Caitlin, who had seen some shit in her time, froze for a second, paralysed by horror as a ravening cannibal pulled a small limb, a child’s arm she thought numbly, from the living heap as though tearing off a chicken wing.
Monique screamed, and for half a heartbeat Caitlin thought she had cried out in distress at the sight of the dismembered child, but the tenor of her cry, a shriek of pain and outrage and deeply personal horror draw the assassin’s attention away from the atrocity at the exit.
Le Clerc had turned.