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World War Z

World War Z


by Max Brooks

World War Z Chapter 7 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Around the World, And Above

Part 1

Province of Bohemia, the European Union

  • The Interviewer meets David Allen Forbes at Kost Castle, a.k.a. "the Bone." They're here to discuss castles, zombies, and what happens when zombies besiege castles.
  • David begins by pointing out that he isn't trying to be insulting by not discussing North American fortifications. It's just that Europe's been using these bad boys for well over a millennia, and they've got this battlement thing down.
  • Onto the castles. David admits they didn't serve humanity as well as other fortifications, modern or not, but since their contribution directly saved his life, well, he's got a soft spot for them.
  • First, let's consider the difference between a castle and a palace. One is an impregnable fortress; the other is pomp and gilded frills. A palace usually has so many windows on its lower floors that you're better off in an apartment building.
  • Not that a castle provided guaranteed safety. In the case of Muiderslot in Holland, it only took an outbreak of pneumonia to finish off the survivors.
  • And if a fire breaks out, you can find yourself stuck between an inferno and the undead, making the proverbial rock and hard place seem a pleasantly non-lethal choice by comparison.
  • At Miskolc Diosgyor in Hungary, someone didn't know sodium and water went boom together. When a fire broke out around some military grade sodium explosives, they threw water on the stuff to put the fire out. In a word, whoops.
  • Another mishap took place at Chateau de Fougeres. The survivors tried to dig their way to safety and popped up right in the middle of the zombies. Guess they should have taken a left turn at Albuquerque.
  • But castle defense also had its triumphs. Chenonceau in France had its connection with land severed. The residents waited for the snow to fall and the zombies to freeze, and then they raided the nearby towns for supplies. Kept them safe for years.
  • Thanks to such benefits, many survivors choose to stay in their fortified strongholds even when they could run away.
  • Like Conway. Conway went in search of permanent lodgings and found Caerphilly Castle.
  • By himself, he buried the dead, smashed in some frozen zombie heads, and then restored the castle. When the zombies returned with the warmer weather, the castle was ready for them and became a safe haven for hundreds of others.
  • The Interviewer brings up Windsor Castle, David's past haunt.
  • Yep, David was there. Strategically, Windsor was capable of withstanding almost any terrorist attack, so the zombies didn't add up to much.
  • They even managed to create an oil and natural gas siphoning system from beneath the castle's foundations. So they had hot rooms, hot food, Molotov cocktails, and medieval weapons. David taught himself to use a claymore. Good times.
  • David clearly grows uncomfortable, and the Interviewer suggests they stop, but David goes on.
  • He mentions she—the Queen—wouldn't leave, insisting on staying in Windsor for the entirety of the war.
  • David tried to get her to change her mind, but she refused, saying, "'The highest of distinctions is service to others.'" (7.1.41).
  • He says their task was "to personify all that is great in our national spirit" (7.1.41). To be an example for the rest of Britain, she sacrificed everything.
  • David says that most people thought the monarchy like castles, old ruins from a bygone era (guess they hadn't met the Duchess of Cambridge). But when they needed them most, they were there to shield Britain, body and soul.

Part 2

Ulithi Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia

  • Barati Palshigar tells the Interviewer that the number one enemy of World War Z wasn't the zombies; it was ignorance. Ignorance of what humanity was facing lead to the outrageous death toll.
  • Radio Free Earth, as it was later called, began its life as part of the South African Plan. Back then, it was called Radio Ubunye.
  • Because they didn't have the resources, the South African government needed to provide its citizens with information. Radio Ubunye proved the answer to this problem.
  • Barati joined at the beginning. They started up the station aboard the maritime vessel the Ural, which was a task in itself.
  • He isn't too hip on the technical know-how of the operation because he specialized in languages, specifically the ones of the Indian Subcontinent. He and a man named Mister Verma worked for up to twenty hours a day dolling out information. You read that right: a 2 followed by 0.
  • Mostly the stuff was basic survival information: "how to purify water, create an indoor greenhouse, culture and process mold spore for penicillin" (7.2.8).
  • The Interviewer asks what kind of misinformation they battled.
  • Where to begin?
  • He found the psychological aspect most awful. In a traditional war, you have to dehumanize the enemy to get people to hate them. In this war, they had to remind people that their enemy wasn't human at all.
  • The Interviewer asks for an example, and Barati says some people thought the zombies were intelligent or felt emotions or could use tools. Others thought you could domesticate them like a cat. It seems the zombie's insatiable hunger for brains wasn't quite the deal breaker you'd think it was.
  • The civilian survival guide helped alleviate the problems, but only a limited amount since it was clearly written with a United States/ western culture in mind.
  • In India, they had to consider their own culture when providing solutions to the problem. For example, many people flocked to the Ganges because they believed its healing powers would prevent zombification. Although it seems the Ganges does wonders against E. coli, zombies… not so much.
  • Not that India was the only country with suicidal ignorance. Barati once heard tale about an American religious sect called "God's Lambs." They believed that the rapture had come and the sooner they were infected the quicker they received a first-classed flight to heaven.
  • Barati can't complain too much though. He ate, he sleep little but soundly, and he never had to deal with IR.
  • What's IR? Good question, Interviewer; we were just wondering the same thing.
  • IR stands for information reception. Information came in from all around the world, and the IR department passed it along to the translators and interpreters.
  • Since they used civilian bands, they often got transmissions from people just calling out for help or crying in anguish that they were dying or their children starving.
  • One IR guy, an 18-year-old Russian, picked up a Spanish lullaby on the band and promptly shot himself.
  • Not one of the IR operators is alive today.

Part 3

The Demilitarized Zone, South Korea

  • Welcome to the Demilitarized Zone, the heavily guarded border separating the countries of South and North Korea. Our tour guide today will be Hynghol Choi. Let's hear what he has to say.
  • Choi tells the Interviewer no one knows what happened. No country in the world was better prepared to fight off the zombie invasion than North Korea.
  • The people were militarized, and they were indoctrinated since birth to believe the Great Leader was the end-all, be-all of all. It was "the kind of subservience Adolf Hitler could have only dreamed of" (7.3.4).
  • What happened? A month before South Korea's troubles with the zombies began, the North went dark. The rail line, the only over link between the two countries, was closed and not a peep was heard from them.
  • Many were convinced it was the beginning of the war that they all knew would happen, but the North didn't look like it was gearing up for an invasion. If anything, the numbers of troops along the Demilitarized Zone began to dwindle.
  • Then one night, the North Korean guards went into their barracks, shut the doors, and never came out.
  • The North stopped sending spies into the South, and the South's spies all disappeared without a trace—and not in the way spies are suppose to disappear.
  • There was no radio traffic. Farmers left their fields. Everyone in North Korea just went poof and vanished.
  • The South couldn't worry too much. They soon had their own problems to deal with, problems of the undead variety.
  • Looking back on in, Choi wonders if maybe they only survived because of North Korea. The older generation in the South always lived with the fear of a North invasion. They stayed diligent, and when the invasion finally came—even if it wasn't exactly the invasion they expected—they were ready.
  • Choi still pushes for an expedition into the North to solve the mystery, but the higher-ups say too much work needs doing on their side of the border.
  • They have legitimate reasons to postpone too. A surface-to-air missile hit a cargo plane flying over Northern airspace, and they don't know what other booby traps might be lying in wait. Or maybe even an entire population of zombies.
  • Choi says conventional wisdom would suggest they headed underground into some super elaborate complexes. If that so, then he wonders if the Great Leader continues to rule over his people, enthroned in their minds like a god.
  • On the other hand, look what happened in Paris's "mole city." What if that happened to the entire country? What if the only thing the Great Leader rules over is a kingdom of the dream waiting to be unleashed upon the world?

Part 4

Kyoto, Japan

  • In the past, Kondo Tatsumi was a "skinny, acne-faced teenager with dull red eyes and bleached blond highlights streaking his unkempt hair" (7.4.1).
  • Today he's clean-shaven, tanned and tone. How'd this transformation take place? Let's find out.
  • Kondo starts by saying he was an "otaku" as a child. It's a Japanese term used to describe a person obsessed with a particular hobby. In Japan, this label can be used degradingly. In America, it generally means a super-mega anime fan without the hurtful connotation.
  • For Kondo, it just meant he was an outsider.
  • He notes that in America the rebel is revered, individuality cherished. In Japan, individuality is a thing to avoid.
  • Japan's education system was also less about discovering or creating the new and more centered on retaining facts.
  • This is where Kondo's otakuism comes in. His world was one of cyberspace, and his education in fact retention made him "sensei, master over all [he] surveyed" (7.4.4). Hmm, an acne-faced, computer geek teenager who is socially awkward? What cliché character farm did this guy come from?
  • When the zombie swarms hit Japan, he and his cyber buddies went right to work. The gathered the facts, studied the physiology and behavior of the undead, and memorized Japan's military capabilities. All so they could… elevate their online reps. Really?
  • Then Doctor Komatsu recommended evacuation. By analyzing rather than collecting the facts, the doc realized Japan was not equipped to handle the crisis. Their low crime rate meant the police lacked the equipment necessary, and years of post-WWII demilitarization left them even more vulnerable.
  • The Interviewer asked if that was terrifying. Hardly, replies Kondo. The cyber community was in a race to find out where the population would resettle.
  • Kondo wasn't concerned for his personal safety because his world was digital, not physical. As for his parents, they left food by his door, but other than that he was disconnected from them too.
  • One day, his food wasn't by his door. He called for his mother. No response. Did he care? You bet! It takes precious minutes to prepare those ramen noodles.
  • The Interviewer wonders about the other otaku, but Kondo responds that they cared about facts only.
  • The lack of food and parents went on for three days. Then the horror of horrors happened. Kondo lost his Internet connection. He checked all his backup systems. Nothing.
  • His parents still weren't home. He tried calling them but, again, nothing. To this day, he doesn't know what happened to them.
  • He returned to his computer and beat on it for not working until his knuckles bleed.
  • The sight of his own blood sent him reeling. He started crying and then vomited all over the floor. When he was done hissy-fitting, he walked to the front door and opened it into darkness.
  • The Interviewer asks if he went to a neighbor's apartment.
  • Nope. His social anxiety was still too great. He called down the hall and heard a groan. In the direction of the groan was the shape of a human crawling toward him.
  • He waited until the thing moved into the light to be sure. Yep, zombie, the right eye hanging out of its socket was a dead giveaway.
  • He slammed the door shut and went over to the window. Sure enough, a zombie apocalypse with all the fixings was happening just outside.
  • Pounding echoed off Kondo's door, and he heard the noises from the other apartments too. He tried to move the furniture in front of the door, but the act proved a waste of effort. Not enough furniture, and the door was cracking.
  • Time to escape. Where? Out the window, of course.
  • Remembering what he'd learned from an otaku who studied American prison breaks, Kondo rigged up a makeshift rope of bed sheets and shimmied on down to the balcony below.
  • It probably held up better than his much abused muscles. They ached with the unexpected exercise.
  • The zombie with the hanging eye had broken into his apartment above. Seeing him below, it slid over the side of the balcony and was reaching for him even as it toppled into the streets below.
  • Thankfully, the apartment below was barricaded. He found the body of a girl, Reiko. She had slit her wrists in the bath tube.
  • Since Kondo was so out of touch with this culture, he didn't know any prayers for the dead. All he could do was ask for an apology for borrowing her bed sheets.
  • He explains to the Interviewer that his plan was to make it to street level. Since the zombies were slow and easily outmaneuvered, he figured he stood just a good a chance down there as in the building. Better chance even. Just a little something he learned online.
  • But due to his lack of physical stamina, it took him three whole days to make enough rope and climb all the way down. In retrospect, he probably should have died.
  • When it was dark, he would move everything against the door and nurse his wounds until the sky came up. Then, it was time to climb.
  • The other thing that delayed him was his desire to search out the best survival gear in each apartment. Thanks to his online searches, he knew what to look for. Finding it was difficult though since the average Japanese salaryman didn't own a wrench or sidearm.
  • Fact Checkery: Kondo mentions his hacker friend got information directly from the National Rifle Association stating "there used to be more firearms than people" in America (7.4.49). Statistics generally don't show this to be true. Then again, these statistics rely on counting the number of registered guns.
  • Illegal, unregistered firearms are a whole other secretive matter. What can we say for certain? America leads the world in gun ownership (Source). Go team!
  • On the fourth floor from the ground, Kondo was thinking about picking a firearm off the street. That thought almost got him killed.
  • He rappelled down, looking directly into the face of a zombie. Luckily, glass stood between them. Kondo tried swinging his rope to hop to the balcony next door. The zombie beat against the glass.
  • Glass shattered. The zombie charged. Kondo let go and missed.
  • But the diagonal fall carried him to the balcony below the one he was aiming for. Man, this kid has a luck streak a mile—sorry, kilometer—long.
  • He rushed into the apartment to check for zombies. Looked empty.
  • He saw a small kamidana. Kondo went to pick up the suicide note on the little shrine when something caught his eye in the shrine's mirror.
  • Zombie! Kondo ducked out of the way and kicked the undead. Undeterred, the zombie rushed for him again.
  • The kid screamed in a way he didn't know he could and then chucked the zombie over the balcony and into the streets below. True story.
  • Now he could relax, treat his wounds, and—never mind, the zombies were a' knocking on the door.
  • Kondo ran into the man's bedroom and gathered the sheets for more rope when a photograph caught his eye. It was the old man as a teenager, dressed to the nines in his WWII military uniform.
  • He thanked the old man and rummaged around the bedroom. He found what he was looking for in a chest: an exquisite, traditionally crafted samurai sword. Consider those zombies minced.

Part 5

Kyoto, Japan

  • It's a Kyoto twofer! Now we find the Interviewer sticking around long enough to chat it up with a second person, Sensei Tomonaga Ijiro, founder of Japan's "Shield Society."
  • Kondo, Ijiro's student and second in command, serves the two tea as they talk.
  • Ijiro is "hibakusha" or a survivor of the atomic bomb. When the U.S. dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, Ijiro lost his eyesight to the blast.
  • Although treated with sympathy, hibakusha are also considered unclean and social outcasts. Ijiro learned all the polite ways to be rejected from a job and companionship.
  • Fearing he'd be a burden on his family, he considered suicide a number of times but couldn't go through with it. Was it some life-affirming epiphany? No. He just figured he was a coward.
  • He left the sanatorium, wandering until he met an Ainu gardener named Ota Hideki in Sapporo.
  • Since the Ainu know a thing or two about being social outcasts in Japan's society, Ota gave Ijiro a job, even paying him out of his own pocket.
  • When the old gardener died, the blind man considered following him. But he still couldn't go through with it. Ijiro just ascribed it to his cowardice and continued silently tending the gardens.
  • He was working the hotel gardens when he first heard of "African rabies," but he didn't pay attention. That was the world's problem.
  • The hotel manager held a staff meeting to assure all the employees there was no substance to the rumors. Ijiro instantly knew he was lying by the way he pronounced his hard consonants.
  • Fearing he'd be a burden to those around him, Ijiro fled once again. He hitchhiked his way south with only his water bottle, change of clothes, and the pray stick (ikupasuy) he used as a walking stick.
  • Into the Hiddaka Mountains he roamed. Although blind, he was very familiar with the national park, having memorized every rock, river, and hot spring during his trips with Ota.
  • He decided it would be the perfect place to die. He knew he'd eat something poisonous one day or trip, fall, and break his neck. Except … he didn't.
  • One day, he crossed paths with a large brown bear. Ijiro was happy the kami had finally decided to end his miserable existence. He felt the bear was the gods' way of sending an assassin to take his life.
  • Basically, he was super stoked about the upcoming man vs. bear showdown.
  • But the bear didn't kill him. Actually, it ran away. Stupid bear! Why didn't it kill him?
  • Then Ijiro heard the moan. He dodged the zombie's attempt to grab him, snatched up his ikupasuy, and then bonked the thing right across the dome. Scratch one zedhead.
  • Ijiro's shame melted away. He knew now the kami had favored him and sent the bear to warn him of the oncoming enemy.
  • He became a zombie hunter. He would sleep during the day and kill at night. He divided the national park into zones, each zone containing a place that would provide him security.
  • The gods even aided his battle. Sometimes the god of the wind would provide favorable conditions so that his "circle of sensory security" was more than half a kilometer (6.5.29). And when a zombie-man entered that circle, you could safety say good night to it.
  • If he angered the kami, then the conditions were less favorable but never fatal.
  • Ijiro always damaged the brain or severed the neck on the first strike. Initially, when his skills were still being honed, his emotions ruled his hands (7.5.38).
  • But as he improved, he learned to allow the gods to join him on the battlefield, using rocks, trees, or cliffs to his advantage.
  • He would thank these spirits after every battle and then bury every re-dead zombie so their rotting remains wouldn't desecrate nature.
  • He was a zombie slayer to make the National Wildlife Federation.
  • But all of this fighting came with a question. Ijiro knew what he was doing was correct, but he didn't know why. The answer came just before his second winter.
  • Ijiro was nestled into the limbs of a tall tree when the wind brought a new smell his way, a human smell.
  • The man's path brought him under Ijiro's tree, and Ijiro took no chances.
  • He leapt onto Kondo before Kondo knew what had happened. Ijiro said he wouldn't kill him if he didn't move.
  • They talk. Kondo told Ijiro all about the plague, what had happened to Japan, and basically got the old hermit up-to-date on current affairs.
  • Ijiro realized why he had been sent to Hokkaido. It was to care for the land. The Gods would not let Japan wither and die, and Ijiro and Kondo would be its gardeners. Its deadly, deadly gardeners.

Part 6

Cienfuegos, Cuba

  • Seryosha Garcia Alvarez tells the Interviewer flat out, "Cuba won the Zombie War" (7.6.2). A humble statement? Nope. An accurate one? Let's find out.
  • Cuba never had it too good economically. During the Cold War, they were more-or-less the Soviet Union's economic puppets and had to put up with the U.S. blockade.
  • After the Cold War, they still had the U.S. blockade to deal with, and Fidel Castro used the fear of the U.S. oppressors to keep himself in power for forever and a half.
  • Then the Great Panic hit. Cuba had long prepared itself for the undead since their geography gave them advanced warning. They not only fought off the initial zombie outbreaks but also the flood of refugees seeking safe harbor.
  • Eventually the refugees made it ashore, but when they got there, they found Cuba had set up a strict "'While under [our] roof, you will obey [our] rules'" policy (7.6.10).
  • Most of the refugees came from the United States in a bit of paradigm shifting irony.
  • The refugees were rustled into Quarantine Resettlement Centers. Some compare these centers to prison camps, but Alvarez thinks that's an unfair comparison.
  • Sure, every camp had rumors of a zombie pit where they'd throw trouble makers, but that was just idle talk meant to keep people in line. They'll look back on that and laugh… one day.
  • The Cubans welcomed the American Cubanos with open arms and let ten percent of Yankee Americans outside the centers to do the jobs no one else wanted to do: dish washers, street cleaners, gardeners, and so on. You know the drill.
  • The camps emptied in six months, but the refugees brought an infection with them. It just wasn't the zombie infection.
  • The work force surge began an economic evolution. Alvarez is certain Fidel would have crushed it if he could, but the world had its own plans.
  • Cuba became the "breadbasket, the manufacturing center, the training ground, and the springboard" of the world (7.6.22). The money created a middle class overnight. Welcome to Cuba, Capitalism.
  • And with capitalism came democracy, and with democracy came a bond between the refugees and the Cubanos.
  • But what really surprised Alvarez was Fidel. He didn't try to stop the surge of freedom. Instead, he took credit for the whole shebang.
  • He personally presided over the first democratic election and ensured his legacy was a positive one.
  • Of course, with democracy and capitalism came strikes and interest groups and political parties and protests. But as Churchill once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others" (7.6.26).

Part 7

Patriot's Memorial, the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

  • Admiral Xu Zhicai chooses this spot just in case a photo op is in the works. The Interviewer notes that even though no one in China has ever questioned his crew's patriotism ever, the old Admiral takes no chances.
  • He wants his side of the story understood.
  • Xu says they loved their country and its people and would never have done what they had if things hadn't been so desperate.
  • The problem? The Chinese army insisted they had the situation in hand. They were so sure of themselves that they rejected the Redeker plan without consideration.
  • How could they lose?, they thought. They had a massive population to fight for them.
  • You see the problem here, don't you? The larger your army, the larger the potential recruits for the zombie forces.
  • Yes, China was being outnumbered, and Captain Chen knew he had to do something.
  • He told his senior officers his plan, and Xu couldn't even believe it at first. Take the most advanced nuclear submarine China had ever constructed and desert their home? It sounded like something out of a movie—this movie, to be specific.
  • It took three months to prepare. Not only was their port under constant attack, but they had to secretly smuggle emergency supplies and family members aboard.
  • Oh, yes, family members. No crewman as going to ditch gram-mama or their darling daughter if they could help it.
  • How did they accomplish it?
  • Well, finding the family was difficult. When they managed to locate someone, they sent a message requesting them for a pre-launch ceremony or to say their family member was dying and needed to see them—lies, of course, but official-looking lies.
  • Xu was lucky his wife and children were already on the base. Captain Chen's wife left him years ago and his son, well, Xu doesn't want to talk about that (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
  • They smuggled the family members aboard at night, either hiding them in uniforms or supply crates. The families had no idea what was about to happen because every crew member was under strict orders to shut the heck up.
  • At first, they stuck to the patrol route assigned to them, but then they set sail for who knows where. They only knew they weren't defecting to another country. They were still Chinese loyal sailors, so they weren't going to hand over a nuclear payload to anyone else.
  • But because of that decision, they were all alone. The Admiral Zheng submarine became their whole world—a small, tightly packed, locker-room-stinking world.
  • The first few months were routine. They stayed deep and silent, performed regular patrols, and trained the civilians in submarine life.
  • Since their initial goal was stealth, they had no idea what was happening on land. What countries were the most infected? Was anyone winning the fight? Had the nuclear option been used? Who won The X Factor?
  • They could answer none of these questions.
  • Lieutenant Commander Song began painting pictures of apocalyptic skylines and cityscapes, and Captain Chen realized it was the result of long-term isolation. He ordered Song to paint something more cheerful. He chose sunsets—instead of going with our clearly superior suggestion of unicorns using caramel apples to ski down rainbows. To each their own joys, we suppose.
  • Over time, the sonar officer, Liu, picked up an increasing number of ships in waters where they should not have been. Chen ordered them to periscope depth to check it out.
  • Maritime vessels aplenty were traveling the open ocean. The ships came from every country and from every era: military and civilian ships, and relics that should have been retired long ago.
  • The crew realized the owners of these vessels had no idea what they were doing on the ocean. They just bailed from land in a blind panic.
  • Admiral Zheng couldn't help. Too many ships were infected to risk assistance, and even if they did help, what could they do? They had no food and could haul them to no safe harbors.
  • Even without helping the other ships, the zombies became a threat to the submarine. Floating ghouls would latch onto the hull or be speared by a piece of equipment, and then they'd have to surface to clear it off.
  • Xu almost got chomped by one of these floating ghouls.
  • Food became a problem over time and medicine even more so, but the Captain strictly forbade raiding derelict vessels.
  • The civilians came up with a solution to the food issues. They proposed to turn the missile room into a garden with pots and troughs for growing plants. They rigged some ultraviolet lamps—used to provide the crew with Vitamin D—and voila, insta-submarine greenhouse.
  • Except they needed soil as the submarine was fresh out (go figure, right?).
  • They surveyed the coast of South America, scanning miles of uninhabited jungle. Xu proposed sending a shore party to retrieve the soil.
  • Before he'd let them go, Captain Chen had the foghorn blown. Hundreds of zombies followed the noise right into the surf.
  • They decided they'd have to find soil on an off shore island, meaning they'd need to return to the Pacific, China's home turf. And the last thing they wanted was to tussle with the Chinese navy.
  • They found their answer at Manihi. The lagoon was crowded with private vessels, and the island was home to hundreds of tents and huts. Xu says it was what post-war historians would later call "the Pacific Continent" (7.7.80).
  • The Admiral Zheng integrated into this society through trade. They ran floating power lines between their reactors to the ships and provided the people with electricity.
  • They became what amounted to millionaires in that society. They bartered for a gymnasium, a wet bar, entertainment centers for the adults, and the children got toys and candy and given entrance into the floating society's schools. They even got their greenhouse all set up with nice rich soil, and the soldiers were given free credit at the, let's say, gentlemen's clubs.
  • Sweeeeet.
  • Sure, the floating continent still had to deal with zombies since the water allowed the zombies to climb the anchor lines. But beyond that, it was the best months of their time abroad.
  • They got word from some Chinese refugees that things in their homeland were worse than ever. They figured they were finally safe since it didn't look the government had the resources to devote to finding one rouge submarine.
  • Wrong.
  • One night, while Song and Xu were on shore duty, they received a radio broadcast about some natural disaster in China. While listening, the sea in front of Xu suddenly glowed. A boat, the Madrid Spirit, exploded.
  • He and Song thought it an accident after first, but then the Admiral Zheng's foghorn blew.
  • Aboard they got the rundown. A new Type 95 hunter-killer submarine was after them. It was one of only two in the Chinese navy, though they couldn't tell which one.
  • The Interviewer asks if that's important, but Xu just keeps telling his story.
  • Captain Chen refused to fight at first. He bottomed the sub and hoped to hide from their hunter.
  • They waited silently. Then Lieutenant Liu tapped Xu on the shoulder and pointed something out. Zombies were swarming their hull.
  • Now, the zombies couldn't do anything to the submarine itself, but if one of them accidently slipped into the Zheng's reactor cooling system, now that could be a problem.
  • They had to move, and their movement altered their attackers. Each sub fired at the same time. Thanks to Captain Chen's quick thinking, they easily avoided the enemy's missile while hitting their target dead on.
  • The Type 95's bulkhead collapsed and imploded. As the 95 died in the ocean, so did Captain Chen's soul.
  • Xu finally lets the Interviewer in on the big secret. Captain Chen wanted to avoid the Chinese fleet because his son, Commander Chen
  • Zhi Xiao, commanded a submarine, specifically at Type 95 hunter-killer.
  • The next day, Captain Chen did not leave his cabin, and they cut off all contact with the outside world. They headed for the arctic.
  • Xu was the only person to see Captain Chen after that and only when he delivered the Captain's meals. They settled back into routine.
  • Their routine was broken when the other 95 found them. Captain Chen finally left his cabin and prepared to sink this other sub without giving them a chance to fight back.
  • But they received a call on their "Gertrude" or underwater telephone.
  • It was Command Chen. Oh, happy days.
  • He told them about the destruction of the Three Gorges Dam, the source of the "natural disaster" they heard of earlier.
  • Out of desperation, the government leaders had ordered the act and, by doing so, set off a civil war. The 95 that attacked them was part of the loyalist forces. Commander Chen was with the rebels, and his mission was to escort them home to join the rebellion.
  • Xu realized they could finally go home, but they still had to one last problem to solve.
  • The Politburo was held up in their bunker, still controlling half of China's forces. They had sworn to never surrender.
  • Well, Captain Chen solved that problem right quick. Taking full responsibility himself, he decided to end the fighting and fired a nuclear weapon on their homeland, killing the loyalist leaders.
  • As they sank beneath the surface, Commander Chen informed them the rebels had taken control and were now fighting the real enemy.
  • They even initiated their own take on the South African plan. The tide was finally turning for China.
  • The next morning, Captain Chen died, mentioning how good his boy was.

Part 8

Sydney, Australia

  • The Interviewer heads to the outback for his discussion with Terry Knox, astronaut and all-around awesome bloke.
  • Terry dispels some myths right away. They weren't "stranded" in the traditional sense. If anything, their space-eye view gave them a better understand of what was going on than anybody on the ground had.
  • Huston ordered them to evacuate on the X-38. Terry made all scientific and nonessential crew evacuate and then gave the rest of the crew the choice.
  • Their goal was to keep the International Space Station intact and while they were at it, keep the Earth's essential satellites afloat in space.
  • They were never promised rescue, but with the ISS's systems, they could stay alive for months. Food was an issue, but the lab animals weren't testing any lethal viruses or anything, so….
  • They used the "Jules Verne Three" ATV to keep the satellites from entering a decaying orbit. They also made many excursions to the ASTRO, space's gas station to refuel the things, so their thrusters worked.
  • During their off hours, they could read or sleep or listen to Radio Free Earth, but mostly they watched what was happening on Earth.
  • Their advanced viewing technologies, called spy birds, showed them all the details from Earth. The problem was they could never decide what to watch. They got what they got.
  • Terry saw lots of battles. They watched General Raj-Singh and the mega swarms over Asia and the American plains. They got front row seats to the evacuation of Japan. They were the first ones to discover zombie holes, and they observed the zombies burrowing like animals.
  • Even with the naked eye, they could see the damage being wrought. Every night, it looked like the entire planet's surface was burning.
  • They even saw the Three Gorges Dam collapse as trillions of gallons of water cut across the Earth's surface.
  • Terry still can't believe how the Chinese government tried to explain that one.
  • Speaking of the Chinese, two weeks after the start of their civil war, the ISS received a signal from the Chinese space station, Yang Liwei. All the message said was for them to keep their distance "lest [they] invite a response of 'deadly force'" (7.8.25).
  • So, Terry and his crew were surprised when another signal came form the station, this time on the ham radio. It was of a frightened voice.
  • When the Yang Liwei appeared over the horizon, Terry decided to take the Verne, hop over, and find out what had happened.
  • The station's orbit had altered, and the escape pod had been blown. Inside, he found enough supplies for someone to survive in space for five years but no scientific equipment. He also found enough explosive charges for a really big boom.
  • He theorizes the Chinese government was attempting a "Scorched Space" policy, meaning "if [they] can't have it, neither can anyone else" (7.8.27).
  • He found the body of a lone Chinese astronaut. Going all Sherlock Holmes with the clues, Terry imagines the two companions had a fight. One probably wanted to join the Chinese loyalist and the other sided with the rebels. Or maybe the loyalist one had been ordered to blow the charges and the other protested.
  • Either way, they took every bit of equipment from that station and gave the Chinese astronaut a proper send off.
  • They stayed on the ISS for three more years with the goodies scavenged off that space station.
  • Their replacement crew arrived on a privately owned spacecraft designed for space tourism.
  • When asked if he regrets his decision, the physical therapy, the effects of that much exposure to cosmic radiation, he says no. He made a difference, one "[n]ot bad for the son of an Andamookia opal miner" (7.8.33).
  • Terry Knox dies three days after the interview.

Part 9

Ancud, Isla Grande de Chiloe, Chile

  • Ernesto Olguin is a merchant ship's master, and he's being interviewed because—actually, let's be spoiler free about this and hear him out.
  • Ernest attended the historical "Honolulu Conference," but he says they should have just called it the "Saratoga Conference" since nobody ever left the warship.
  • The conference members were there to learn better battle and survival strategies against the zombies swarming across the planet.
  • Ernesto was there to help international trade by integrating Chile's maritime vessels into a worldwide convoy.
  • Then the American ambassador addressed the delegates and said they needed to go on the attack. He said America planned to go on the offensive everyday until the zombie scourge was extinct.
  • Everyone erupted in uproarious applause… or was it argument. Yeah, definitely argument.
  • Some wanted to wait for the zombies to decompose; others argued they weren't decomposing, and it only took one to start a new plague.
  • Third-world country delegates suggested that this was proper punishment for first-world countries being imperialist jerks in the past.
  • Ernesto disagrees with that one—not necessarily the jerks part but more because the zombies are hurting everyone and not just former imperial countries.
  • Then the President came to the podium. He just talked in a calm voice until everyone was listening to him.
  • He thanked them for their opinions on the matter and agreed that, yep, they'd fought the zombies to a stalemate. But the zombies had taken away humanity's self-confidence, and they needed to fight to gain it back.
  • No cliché slow-building applause followed. Instead everyone was just silent until they were excused for their afternoon recess.
  • Since Ernesto wasn't an ambassador, he didn't participate in the vote. He talked and drank wine with a South African and Frenchman—Commander Emile Renard, whose name will pop up later, so keep it in mind.
  • They drank and discussed the future of their beloved beverage.
  • The vote wasn't unanimous but it was definitive: attack.

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