(Another guest blog for Emerian Rich. Enjoy in a dark spooky room.)
Plague Master Series – Zombies in Space
By H.E. Roulo
When science-fiction and zombies meet, you end up with unpredictable elements. After all, the science of zombies isn’t set in stone, you have fast and slow, dead, undead, and only nearly-dead, and the whole problem of rotting but not so much the zombies don’t move. Essentially, they don’t make scientific sense unless you take a very open-minded view.
Still, rules must apply. Figuring out the parameters of the zombie, what makes them a threat, and how they survive is part of the fun. Then, with rules established, you get to show just how it matters. In Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome, the rules matter very much.
The zombies of the Plague Master Series are created when someone is bitten or infected by blood. Those bitten change immediately. Those who had the unfortunate luck to get blood in an open wound or their eyes or mouth will eventually change, but it’s hard to tell when.
The blood-infected are dangerous, but still people. Like outcasts of long ago, one solution is to send them to their own colony of infected. The best known of these is the Sanctuary Dome, on the poisonous planet of Lindley.
When a person changes into a zombie, in this universe, a few things happen. Mostly, they seem to be filled with a black oily substance that comes out in their saliva, bloody wounds, and colors their nails and lips. The new zombies are initially violent and fast. Their minds burn feverishly and their speech gradually goes.
Given the inoculation in time, the fever and mind-alteration can be limited.
Without the inoculation, the disease progresses until the person is wholly a zombie, unthinking and unfeeling in all ways. These shambling shadows can be docile and even herded, like sheep, unless they are stimulated to violence.
Now, supposing a spaceship with infected, bound for the Sanctuary Dome on Lindley, were to encounter trouble, what would become of the zombies on board? This is a question that must be considered, since it’s entirely possible for calamity to befall a ship full of infected who are likely to become violent en route.
Obviously zombies can’t fly ships. If the ship were fully overtaken it would either complete its autopilot course or drift. Any planet or space station would not allow a ship of undead to dock. Therefore, the ship would eventually be drifting. While it is uncomfortable to consider abandoned ships of drifting dead, it is better than the alternative of letting them land. If resources were available, they could be destroyed ship and all, but during an outbreak it is unlikely that the troops and armaments necessary would be available.
So, how big a threat are the drifting ships? Really, they only become dangerous if they crash into something. If they crashed to a planet, for example, a hardy zombie might survive. The infection holds the zombie together, in a bizarre way, and it is possible some of the diseased could walk—or stumble—away.
Alternately, if the ships were to collide or break up for any reason other than a habitable planet, the zombies could be released into space. In this case, they’d likely be left drifting. They have no need for gravity, atmosphere, or heat. How long they would function is pure speculation.
Now that two books of the trilogy are out, much is known about the disease, but there are still a few questions left to explore.
PLAGUE MASTER: SANCTUARY DOME
“A perfect mix of classic sci-fi and zombie horror. Once you start, you are hooked!”
-Jake Bible, author of Little Dead Man.
“Sanctuary Dome is fast-paced zombie sci-fi on a prison planet of the dying and the undead.”
-Stephen North, author of Beneath the Mask