This recent, lazily regurgitated, report on a national newspaper website was drawn to my attention on a number of occasions in the last few weeks. In each instance the associate alerting me the report expressed ignorance of my astoundingly prescient Ant! Zombies! project. Instead, they would usually claim that they “saw [the story] online and thought [I] might find [aforesaid story] interesting.”
Whilst the woeful incuriousness of these people could explain why none have yet partaken of even the shortest vignettes contained within Ant! Zombies!: The First Anthology, I can think of no obvious reason as to why they felt I would find this story “interesting”.
I find it chilling.
Ant! Zombies! exists as a speculative “Shape of Things to Come” think-piece story suite. It highlights not only mainstream society’s woeful lack of preparedness for the coming zombie apocalypse, but also the continued reluctance of national governments and supranational bodies to respond to the simmering formicidæ menace. They remain unwilling even to consider regular and well-planned proposals to subjugate and weaponise these brutally resourceful insects.
Consider the following.
It is generally acknowledged that zombies (of the Classic genus, not powered by rage, or other motor-skills enhancing factors) are limited by their lumbering nature and inability to formulate plans, let alone communicate learning. Thus, time and again, in films, graphic fiction and television, we see even the most inept survivor escaping the undead by the simple expedient of scaling a conveniently positioned chainlink fence.
Should zombies (by circumstances too complex to recount in a blog post such as this) come to possess the characteristics of ants, they will overcome the previously unassailable obstacle in one of two ways.
In the first instance, being of a hive mind, able to communicate across great distances, and capable of learning through observation it is statistically naïve to assume that one zombie would not determine the mechanics of scaling a fence, which would rarely be of above ten feet. On making this discovery, this zombie could instantaneously transmit the knowledge to his entire colony (assuming the ants’ clannish tendencies survive their union with the undead), wiping out yet another crucial survivor defence strategy.
Alternatively, somewhat more outlandishly, it has been postulated that the zombie-ant amalgam could develop the ability to vary their stature according to need (in a similar fashion to the lesser Marvel figure Ant Man). In such circumstances the chainlink fence would provide negligible protection.
Assuming the entire shrinking and resizing process would take under a minute, the fleeing human would have gained little advantage, once the exhaustion, and potential for scraped knees and jarred ankles inherent in scaling a fence has been factored in.
It is also worth considering whether a survivor, even one of above average intellect and foresight, would be able to tear their eyes from the fascinating sight of a zombie horde transforming en masse from approximate human-size to that of small insects. Said human would not wish to miss this mesmerizing event, but would likely see it only once.
What is to say that the ant-sized zombies, on gaining passage through the fence, would not, if in suitable quantity, simply remain in the diminutive form and overcome their quarry with superior numbers and formidable mandibles?
Another key weapon which humans possess in their attempts to survive the incursion of the fetid brainless undead is that of stealth. Manys a survivor will utilise stealth tactics, brutally but noiselessly dispatching individual zombies in order to ensure a clear path toward safety without alerting any other ghouls in the vicinity. However, on the appearance of ant-zombie hybrids, this simply will not be possible.
Consider how the contemporary ant will expel pheromones into the atmosphere to warn its comrades of impending or immediate dangers. The previously astute technique of silently pulverising a lone zombie’s cranium would in fact be the mute death knell of an erstwhile “survivor”.
The ant-zombie, on experiencing a deft strike to the nape of its neck with a scaffolding pole, would release undetectable chemical signals far and wide bringing down a brutal swarm of invertebrate-influenced neurophagists. Only the most talented human would survive such an onslaught. The rank and file would be simply incapable of plotting a critical path for disposing of the requisite participants in the ensuing mob to make fast their escape.
The above is just a sample of the various troubling issues which would be presented by the intermingling of the undead and a relentless insect whose combined biomass matches that of the human race. With our corpses on their side, this will not be a fair pound-for-pound fight in the slightest.
In short, the (re)discovery of a zombifying fungus impacting ants is a matter of grave concern for humanity’s current epoch, not something to be discussed with smug frivolous irony on the message boards of Leftist rags.