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It occurs to me that Pandora gets a bad rap.

Her story is used as example of the dangers of curiosity. Or worse, as misogynistic tale of the problems that result when you leave women on their own without supervision.

So we get:

"Pandora's curiosity got the better of her and she opened a box. Bad things happened."

This leaves out the bit at the end about hope. And I think that should be regarded as the important part.

"Pandora dared the unknown and in doing so, brought hope to the world."

Pandora shouldn't be held up as a cautionary tale, she should be held up as an example. An explorer, or a scientist even.

Of course, this is dependent on the debatable point of 'hope' outweighing 'all the evils of the world.'
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I have now set up a Dreamwidth account. This message should be cross posted.

If that works, the next thing to figure out will be following all those people who switched to dreamwidth and haven't been cross-posting.

Annexation

Oct. 26th, 2012 10:45 pm
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I hereby declare this digital territory to be within my dominion, in a silly, and/or metaphorical, non-legally binding, fashion.
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I unfortunately failed with the one drabble a day for a month thing, but I had written this as a final part.

--

A team of men in military-grade NBC gear, armed with rifles and flamethrowers move down the hallway. They stop at a doorway, one of them unlocks the door and they enter cautiously, weapons at the ready.

No immediate threats found, they spray the room with heavy-duty disinfectant and begin a systematic search. Anything biological is regarded as potentially contaminated and, after samples are taken, is destroyed with flame.

They’ve been at this for weeks, they’re tired and bored. Thus they don’t notice the deinonychus corpse on an overhead shelf. And they have already left when it lurches to its feet.
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“Have you got much ammunition left?”

“I’ve got seven slugs for the shotgun and six rounds for the revolver.”

“Five for the shotgun and three for the rifle.”

“Damn, that won’t last us long at all.”

“I told you we should have kept that fire axe.”

“That thing was heavy! Besides, I’d rather not deliberately get that close to a zombie.”

“Well, let’s check the lockers and see what we can find.”

“Here’s something.”

“Hair spray?”

“Sure, I saw it in a movie, you get a lighter and turn it into an instant flamethrower.”

“Flaming zombies seem more dangerous.”

“Damn.”
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He fired both barrels of the shotgun at the leaping deinonychus. Two solid slugs of lead arrested its momentum, and instead of the arc of its leap ending with a disembowelment, it landed on its back, about six feet short of its target.

“You killed it. I thought you were trying to avoid that.”

“I was, I like dinosaurs and I’d rather it was alive and killing zombies. But I don’t like dinosaurs enough to get eaten by one.”

“That is quite possibly the sanest thing you’ve said since we met.”

“Well, you know how it is in crisis situations.”
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She cocked her head as if noticing where she was for the first time.

“This is a kitchen.”

“Right, they’ll be some food here that we can either eat now or take with us.”

“The stoves run on gas, couldn’t we set something up so that they’ll go boom and take out a bunch of zombies?”

“We’d need to time that very carefully, so that the explosion got us, and not the zombies.”

“Microwave.”

“Microwave?”

“I saw it in a movie once, we put something in the microwave that catches fire, which will ignite the gas.”

“It’s worth a try.”
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“Oh, thank goodness. I’ve been looking for one of these.”

“It’s a vending machine.” Her tone was flat.

“And it might save our lives.”

“What, the secret anti-zombie weapon was hidden in the vending machine?”

“No, just snack food.”

“Snack food is going to save our lives?”

“We’ve been running, often literally, for hours now. Our bodies are running on fumes. Keeping your blood sugar up could make the difference between evading a zombie and getting your brain eaten by a zombie.”

“I’d rather have the secret anti-zombie weapon.”

“Me too, but chocolate is some consolation.”

“Words to live by.”
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“Deinonychus; run!”

“I thought you said these things can outrun a horse,” she said, her words uneven as she breathed heavily.

“We don’t need to outrun the deinonychus. Just the zombie!”

“What zombie?”

She followed as he suddenly veered sharply to the right, bringing them out of reach of a glassy-eyed figure in a lab coat missing his left arm.

“That zombie.”

They didn’t look back as they heard the deinonychus’ scream and the disturbing thump of it landing on the zombie, claws first.

The feeling of bits of zombie splattering against their backs only encouraged them to run faster.
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Her shot took the zombie in the middle-left, blowing away a chunk of its torso. It was rocked back by the shot, but only for a moment as it righted itself and resumed lurching forwards.

“Always aim for the head. A head shot will take out a zombie, otherwise you need to whittle it away to nothing.”

Bracing herself, she carefully lined up her gun and missed.

“Damn. That is why I go for center of mass shots. Head shots are much more difficult.”

“Stick to head shots. Improving your accuracy does no good if your shots have little effect.”
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She came around the corner and gasped. She gestured for silence.

“What is it?” he whispered at her.

“Giant bear, sleeping.”

“Oh, is that all?” he replied at a normal volume.

“Shh!”

“It’s hibernating. It won’t wake up unless it gets a special hormone injection.”

“Really?”

“Oh yeah, the idea was that a sleeping bear would be easier to transport, and then you’d wake it up at the target site and point the ravenous bear at your enemies.”

“The scary thing is how much sense that makes to me.”

“Why is that scary?”

“It means I’ve been here too long.”
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The door was large, and made of steel. It was unadorned save for a small numeric keypad. He looked at the door and frowned.

“Well, aren’t you going to open it?” She gestured towards the door.

“I don’t know what’s behind this door.”

“Can it really be worse than what’s behind us?”

“Oh yes, very much so.”

She rolled her eyes. “Is it likely to be worse than what’s behind us?”

“Likely? No. I give us better than even odds that there’s nothing behind this door that’s worse than what’s following us.”

“I may regret this. Open it.”

“Will do.”
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“Why did you have to make raptors?”

“I like dinosaurs.” He didn’t bother looking at her as he responded.

“Couldn’t you make something safe and cuddly?”

“Safe and cuddly doesn’t pay the bills.”

“How about gerbils, I like gerbils.”

“I wasn’t assigned to work with the gerbils. I’m too squeamish for that.”

“I don’t want to know what they were doing to gerbils that even you found disgusting.”

“Oh no! It wasn’t that at all. It was what the gerbils did to their victims.”

“The gerbils?”

He nodded. “Weaponized gerbils. Vicious little creatures. I’d rather fight a pack of deinonychus.”
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They ran through the door and shut it behind them. Then with unspoken coordination, they searched the area. Any spot big enough to conceal a zombie was inspected, shotgun at the ready. Any entrance large enough to admit a zombie or raptor was carefully blockaded.

“What on Earth were you people thinking! Zombies, raptors, who knows what else you’ve come up with. It’s all insane!”

“Myself, I was thinking ‘dinosaurs are cool.’ Zombies were never my department, but I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs since I was three years old.”

“Well, your three-year-old self is going to get us killed.”
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She looked down at the huddled mass of zombies that had gathered in the atrium below them, and frowned.

“It’s been an hour since the raptors took out any of the zombies.”

“Shit, I should have expected this.”

“Expected what?”

“I keep saying the deinonychus are clever. They’re smart enough to know a large group of prey is dangerous. They’re waiting for an individual or small group to pick off.”

“What can we do?”

“We need to get the zombies moving again, so they’ll divide up into smaller groups.”

“How do we do that?”

“Simple. We use bait.”

“Bait?”

“Us.”
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They could see dozens of zombies through the reinforced windows of the observation area. The zombies threw themselves against the glass in an irregular rhythm. The window was still holding.

“We’ve got to call for help!”

“This place is a Category 6 Quarantine Zone. ‘Help’ involves saturation bombing of this facility and the surrounding area.”

“Isn’t that a little extreme?”

“Considering what we’re developing in here, anything less than nuking us is a restrained, measured response.”

“Isn’t there anything we can do?”

“Completely eliminate the zombie outbreak.”

“How?”

“I’ve got an idea.”

“What is it?”

“Release the deinonychus.”

“You’re crazy.”
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He seemed to be having trouble standing; she offered him a hand but he didn’t take it.

“Are you okay?”

His only response was to moan slightly.

“Don’t worry. We’re getting out of here. We just need to...”

Her statement was cut off as shotgun fired at close range took out a large chunk of his head.

“You shot him!”

“He was infected.”

“You could have helped, there must be something that can cure it.”

“Nothing. Once bitten he’s nothing but a walking moaning zombie-plague vector. If I’m infected I want you to do the same for me.”

“Damn you.”
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The shot hit the zombie in the right shoulder, throwing it back for a moment, but only a moment. She pulled the trigger again and her gun simply clicked, empty.

The zombie reached for her with its left arm. She reflexively inhaled deeply, but before she could scream the zombie’s left arm, and a large chunk of its torso were suddenly removed by one of the scythe-like toe claws of a deinonychus.

“Come one! We’ve got to get out of here!”

“The raptor saved me. Why?”

“They naturally pick out the weak and slow. You’re much faster than a zombie.”
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The only-vaguely avian features of the deinonychus regarded them from the other end of the hall. They locked gazes for a very long moment as she fumbled with the shells she was loading into the shotgun. Then the moment passed, and the predator fled.

“It ran. Why did it run?”

“We taught them to recognize guns.”

“What? Why?”

“If they were going to be a useful military tool they needed to be able to deal with firearms.”

“And how do they deal with firearms?”

“The element of surprise, mostly. They’re quite clever.”

“Why don’t you ever have any good news?”
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He slammed the door and dragged a filing cabinet against it. Neither did much to diminish the screams.

“He sacrificed himself to save us from the raptors.” Her voice was little more than a whisper. “We didn’t even know his name.”

“Deinonychus.”

“Now is not the time!” she snapped.

He shook his head as if to wake himself up. “We need to keep moving before they find a way in here.”

“But if we keep heading that way, we’ll be heading towards the zombies.”

“We can outrun zombies, we can’t outrun the deinonychus.”

“Damn, I’m glad I wore flats today.”
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