Very sad news to report today.
Bob Casale of Devo. Born: July 14th, 1952 . Deceased: February 17th, 2014
As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning. He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got. He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again. His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all.
Gerald Casale, Devo founder.
photo circa 1980 by Jules Bates/Artrouble
Down in the ECC – the Environmental Control Center of the hospital, several three person teams each closely watched multiple 23” high definition monitors for signs of trouble. They contacted the various IRT group leaders with the locations they needed to check.
Most of the incidents were just more of the same – sick individuals that were either in the throes of succumbing to the hideous effects of the zombie virus or scenes where someone had turned and was either wandering aimlessly through the hallways or attacking an unfortunate victim.
“IRT 3, report in. This is the ECC, Ed report in.” said one of the people monitoring the screens showing the sub-basement hallway near the linen department.
“IRT 3 here, John; what do you have for us?” Ed Mason, the team lead for IRT 3.
“We got a report from the computer guys about a couple zombies they fought off in one of the linen rooms. You better check for any shakers down near the linen department.” Shakers were individuals in the process of turning who shook with spasms as it happened. “Are you guys near there?” John Brox advised Ed’s team.
“Yeah, we can get there in a few minutes. We just took two freaks to the clinic for a quick exit.”
“All right, make sure your gear is good to go. I think they’ll be turned any time now. Be careful Ed.” John said.
As Ed and his IRT 3 team cautiously made their way down the long hallway that led from the clinic – a converted storage room that now served as the location they took any zombies they could detain to be put to a quick and final death by puncturing their brain, the lights flickered on and off due to a recent power outage.
“All right boys and girls, keep your eyes and ears open – no telling if a shaker will come staggering out of nowhere.” Ed instructed his team.
Brandishing bright flashlights and Plexiglas shields, the IRT members wore riot gear including front and back padded body armor, helmets, shoulder and arm fitted armor. They also sported knee pads, thigh and calf armor with heavy soled boots.
It didn’t take long before they reached the corner of the hallway and the heavy doors where the ECC had reported seeing two or three shakers.
“Hold up gang, I can hear something on the other side of the doors.” Ed said keeping his voice low. “Jack, shine your light between the doors and see if you can spot anything; but be careful!”
“Will do, boss.” Jack replied in a serious voice. He had seen one of his best friends attacked by the shakers and had to give him a quick exit.
The group kept a vigilant watch on all sides as Jack slowly approached the heavy doors. Jack paused as he noticed the right hand side door slowly moving as if something was pushing on it from the other side. He aimed his flashlight between the doors and was greeting by a shaker stumbling through falling to the floor.
“Watch out!” jack cried out.
“Dan, cover him!” Ed ordered keeping his voice calm and in charge, directing Dan to aim his light and weapon into the now half-way opened door while Jack could administer a ‘quick exit’ strike to the shaker, putting him out of his misery.
“We got two more coming this way, Ed.” Dan replied as he took up a defensive position on the doorway. “And these two ain’t just shakers!”
“Damn!” Ed exclaimed in a rare loss of composure. “All right, get this poor soul out of the way and get ready to take out the others as soon as they reach the door.”
Jack and Dan raised their automatic weapons keeping the lights aimed into the darkened doorway until the two zombies got to the door.
Two male figures with sunken features and snarling and gnashing their horrid mouths reached out their hands to shield their eyes from the bright lights. That was a curious reaction they hadn’t noticed before, thought Ed.
“Fire!” He said as Dan and Jack took aim at the zombies and with just a few quick head shots dropped them where they were.
“Boss!” called out Erin from behind them, “We got two or three more coming up from the South Tower hallway.
Ed quickly directed his team into position with Jack and Dan dragging the dead zombies off to one side while Erin and the others took flanking positions to light up the hallway.
Two male and one female zombies with recent injuries staggered towards the IRT. They each had ragged clothing stained dark with blood and multiple bite and chewed areas on their arms and legs.
“All right, let’s make this quick; we have to get this area cleaned up as best we can as soon as we can.” Ed mentioned as Erin and a couple others dropped the three approaching zombies with just a few efficient shots.
Up in The Ivory Tower, Max Cheshire was having an animated phone conversation with the ECC.
“What in blazes is going on down there, Robert?” Max demanded.
“One of the IRTs had two encounters that they had to take care of and were successful removing several of the sick.” Robert replied matter of factly.
“Just how many do you mean by ‘several’?” Robin asked.
“Five; the IRT led by Ed Mason put down two at first who were near the linen department then three more that approached from the south hallway.” Robert answered her.
“Geez, Robert; how many of those – things, have your IRTs taken down since this started?” Max wanted to know.
Robert thought for a moment, than answered him, “With these five that makes nearly two dozen. Well, four of them were just on the process of turning; they weren’t fully changed into zombies like all the others.”
“Have they all been mostly located in the research area? Have any of them been found in other parts of the hospital?” Robin sounded as if she already knew the answer but wanted to get confirmation from Robert first.
“Well, we don’t have any proof but some of the IRTs have speculated there may have been a couple suspicious individuals near the ER but it’s been on level 5 lock down since yesterday.” Robert answered.
“Level 5 lock down – what is that?” Robin asked.
“Nothing, no one gets in or gets out. The security doors are remotely locked and the exterior ER doors have been locked.” Robert gave Max a serious look. “You know we’re going to have to tell the county something and soon. We can’t just keep refusing to accept people in dire medical need.”
“I know, that Robert.” Max said coldly. “I have been on the phone all evening reassuring the other hospitals that the outbreak we’ve encountered – without telling them exactly what’s going on – will soon be contained and cleaned up.”
“You can’t be serious, Max!” Exclaimed Nadia Dean Muscat, Director of nursing who had remained quiet until now. “This isn’t something we can lie about. If - no when they discover the truth we’ll face more sanctions than we could handle!”
“I know that! Do you honestly believe I would put the reputation of this hospital on the line like that?” Max countered her.
The maze of hallways leading to and from the Emergency Room were confusing enough for the people who worked there, for those unfamiliar it was enough to drive someone mad.
Since the level 5 lock down began, the staff had been unable to leave, along with about a dozen patients and family members who were getting more restless as the hours passed.
Two sisters, Cristina and Lauren could barely contain their frustrations; they had been waiting in the ER for 18 hours now since they brought their father in with chest pains. There was tension between them due to Lauren, who was in her late 20’s and semi famous for starring on a low budget cable TV show; Cristina was about five years younger and while very talented creating and working on websites, her sister frequently teased her about needing a real job.
“This is frickin’ ridiculous! GO ask the nurse again what’s taking so long!” Lauren barked at her younger sister Cristina.
“Why? All she’s gonna tell me is the same thing as last time I asked – due to this stupid lock down they can’t tell us anything about dad’s condition.” She turned from her sister trying to get the kinks out of her lower back. “Besides, don’t be such a bitch; being stuck with here with you isn’t a thrill for me either.”
Out of earshot of the patients and people in the waiting room, two nurses Gina and Lucy were nervously talking about the rumors behind the lock down.
“Girl, I heard it was like a living dead movie out there.” Lucy said.
“What, like zombies or something? That stuff ain’t real; just a bunch of crack heads having a fit.” Replied Gina sarcastically.
“Girls, we need to keep this to ourselves, ok?” Mary Kilkeegan, nursing supervisor came up to them and quietly admonished them. “I don’t want to hear any more talk about zombies or crack heads or whatever. We have patients to take care of so let’s get to it.”
“Yes ma’am.” They both replied at the same time.
“Thank you, now I need one of you to check the supply room for some things we’re running low on.” Mary said as she held out a list for them.
“Can we both go?” Gina said with a trace of fear in her voice.
“Yes, sure that’s ok. Just be careful, all right?” Mary said with reassurance. “And don’t take too long; get back here as soon as you can.”
After Tom and Frank returned to the IT tech room, their supervisor Fred informed them as well as the others that they were under lock down and couldn’t venture out without an IRT escort.
“So what are we supposed to do? Sit around and tell campfire stories?” Tonia asked sarcastically, which was par for the course with her.
“We still have network access, meaning internet access, so keep in touch with your family and friends. Do whatever you want to help you pass the time.” Fred replied wearily. “I know this isn’t the most fun we could be having but at least we’re safe here.”
“What are we supposed to do for food?” asked Tom.
“I already thought of that, in a way. When I found out we were going into lock down, I uh, accessed the vending machines and brought back as many drinks and snacks as possible.” Fred motioned to the computer boxes on the red flat cart which everyone could now see was full of food and drinks. “They may not be cold but it’s better than nothing.”
Everyone agreed to sort through everything and divide the drinks into the different brands; they did the same with the snacks, from candy bars to honey buns and the assorted other snacks.
“Uhm, so what do we do – after?” Dan asked curiously.
“After what?” Fred started to ask, “Oh, gotcha. Well, as long as it remains safe to walk down the hallway to the restroom, there, we’re ok. Probably make sure people go in a group of two or three, so no one goes anywhere alone.”
Gina and Lucy made their way to the supply room just down the hall from the ER. Normally, it was just a couple minutes’ walk but with the blinking light fixtures it seemed like forever.
“Come on Lucy, hurry it up; this is freaking me out big time!” Gina exclaimed nervously.
“I know, I’m hurrying as fast as I can. There’s not much light and I can’t read all the labels on the meds. I don’t want to miss anything or get the wrong thing.”
Suddenly a crash came from somewhere further down the hall.
“Girl, we gotta GO!” cried Gina as she practically pulled Lucy out of the supply room.
“I’m coming, I’m coming.”
Just then a shaker appeared from around the opposite corner from the nurses’ entrance to the ER. The girls screamed as the figure staggered out of the shadows reaching out to grab them. Gina tried to kick at the shaker as he fell to the floor groaning.
“Oh God, that’s Dr. Channing!” Lucy said covering her face to keep from gagging.
“Let’s go!” Gina shouted grabbing Lucy as she hit the door release and made it back inside as the zombie form of Dr. Channing began to stand up.
“Mrs. Kilkeegan!” Gina called out as the slammed the emergency door close switch. “It was Dr. Channing, he was turning…” she began to hyperventilate.
“Gina, slow down – breath!” Mrs. Kilkeegan tried to calm her as she helped Gina into a nearby chair. “Lucy, is that correct? Did you two see Dr. Channing?”
“Yes ma’am, we’re sure it was him.” Lucy replied as fought back tears.
“I need to contact the ECC and let them know what happened. Please put the supplies away and check on our patients. I know they’re all freaking out as well. We need to do as much as we can to help them feel safe and that everything will be alright.” Mrs. Kilkeegan instructed the girls, but deep down inside she knew things would not be alright.
The screams from the other side of the ER broke her thoughts as Gina and Lucy called out to her.
“Mrs. Kilkeegan! There’s another one of those people – things, trying to come through the west door!” Gina exclaimed.
“I’ve got the ECC on the phone and they’re sending a team down right now. Try to hold that door!” Mrs. Kilkeegan yelled back. A couple other nurses came over to help brace the door. “Can you tell if it’s more than one of them?”
John Brox head of the ECC held the line as the nurse from the ER dept. tried to verify how many shakers they thought were attacking the ER.
“Get those cameras trained on the ER, I got ‘em on the phone and say there are at least two, maybe three shakers trying to get in.”
Ron was the first to spot them. “Boss, I got cameras one and three on the east and north halls; it’s bad.”
“How bad are we talking, Ron?” John said as calmly as he could as he viewed the display screens. “Oh my god…”
Roger Weston led his Incident Response Team towards the ER department as carefully as possible. They were able to avoid the few shakers they noticed from a distance and put them down with ‘quick exit’ strikes to their heads using spikes.
They took care to contain the body fluids by using an improvised wrap consisting of several layers of gauze coated with baking soda.
As they rounded a corner, the group stopped when they heard the dinging sound indicating an elevator had opened its doors.
Roger slowly led the group towards the short hallway where the four elevators were located.
“Ok guys, let’s be careful. Alverez, you and Scotty take the point. Johnny, you and Brian watch our backsides.” Roger instructed his team as they cautiously entered the elevator area.
“Damn Roger, take a look at this.” Scotty exclaimed as they saw half of a zombie whose body had gotten stuck in between the elevator doors.
“Ugh, looks like he – she – uh it has been nearly smashed in two!” Alvarez said.
“Let’s put it out of its misery, no need to let it suffer any more than it already has.” Roger said as Scotty used a 10 inch metal spike to administer a quick exit to the zombie.
Just then the snarling of three more zombies who had been trapped on the same elevator caught their attention.
“Oh crap, we got three more!” Alverez said as he pulled a small crossbow that he carried strapped to his right leg and fired off a shot taking out one of the zombies.
“Got you covered buddy!” Scotty said as he and Roger took out the other two zombies with two quick shots. They tried to not use their guns as much as possible to reduce the chances of drawing more attention.
“Roger, this is John. Do you read me?” came the call from the ECC.
“Yeah, we’re here. We had to take care of a few freaks in the north tower elevator bank. We’re heading to the ER now. What’s up, anything else to worry about?”
“The east and north halls are crawling with freaks. You guys better be careful.”
“Copy that, John. We’re locked and loaded. We’ll check in as soon as we can after we get a handle on the situation at the ER. Roger out.”
Sisters Lauren and Cristina had taken refuge in a unisex bathroom located in the ER department when the zombies broke in and attacked.
“It’s gonna be ok!” Lauren repeated quietly as they held eachother, trying to suppress their terror induced sobbing. “I’m sorry, so sorry Cristina for being so mean to you…” she pleaded tearfully.
“I don’t care, you’re my sister and I love you.” Cristina shushed her older sister as they took solace that they had survived so far.
Out in the ER it was horrible carnage: two zombies who had broken in from the hall chewed on the bodies of the two nurses – Lucy and Gina; Head nurse Mary Kilkeegan survived long enough to stab two other zombies in their heads with the metal spike the IRT had given her the day before but she succumbed to the assault of a large male zombie who looked like he was an orderly before turning.
When Roger’s IRT group entered the ER area, the carnage was overwhelming. Multiple zombies were lumbering about while others continued to eat the flesh of their victims. As the team moved into the ER, they wasted no time administering ‘quick exits’ to zombies and shakers alike. There was too much carnage for them to properly contain the body fluids spilled all over the floor.
“Roger, we got a huge problem over here.” Alverez called out as he noticed the automatic doors leading outside has been pushed aside.
“That’s not good, not good at all.” Roger exclaimed shining a light on the bloody trail heading out of the doors. “Alverez, you and Scotty take a quick look outside and give me a report of what the situation looks like out there. I’m going to have to let the Ivory Tower know we have a potential breach.”
The muffled sounds coming from a unisex bathroom caught the attention of two members of Roger’s team.
Don and Andrea cautiously approached the door, expecting the worst as they opened the door.
“Please help! Don’t shoot, we’re alive!” cried the two young women huddled in the bathroom.
Andrea lowered her weapon and moved in close to comfort the women. “Hey, hey, it’s ok now, we’re here. Can you tell me your name?”
“L-Lauren…” the older woman replied with a slight British accent as she hugged her sister.
Don approached cautiously as well and scanned the small one person bathroom for any signs of danger. “Roger, we got a couple of survivors!” he called over his shoulder as he turned to help Andrea with the women.
“Who are you guys?” Lauren replied as she started to regain her composure.
“We’re part of the hospital’s response teams, trying to contain the outbreak.” Don said. “Were either of you attacked, scratched or bitten?” He asked.
“No, we’re OK. We ran in here as soon as those – things, broke into the ER.” Lauren explained.
“What about her? She doesn’t seem to be ok.” Andrea said as she wrapped a couple blankets around the women’s shoulders.
“She’s my sister; I think she’s in shock or something. But she’s not hurt or anything.” She said suddenly feeling protective of her younger sister, Cristina.
Roger walked over to them and leaned down as he spoke in a calm tone. “My name’s Roger; I’m in charge of this team. We’re going to take care of you both.”
Two zombies shuffled along the back driveway behind the hospital as it sloped up a slight hill towards the parking deck. The street lights illuminated their ghastly forms creating exaggerated shadows behind them. The cool night air caused the zombies’ bodies to slow a little bit as they staggered along, the remaining warmth in their dying bodies emitted small wisps of breath then ceased altogether. Even with their diminished cognitive functions, the zombies were still drawn to sudden sounds that caught their basic attentions. So when the sirens of patrolling police cars whooped nearby, the two zombies lumbered on up the hill towards the receding siren’s wailing.
Across the street from where the zombies slowly staggered was the employee parking deck to the hospital. Usually there were people coming and going due to all the over-lapping work schedules but now due to the locked down, very few people dared to be outside at night. But as bad as things were, brave and determined people still believed in doing for others in their times of need.
The hospital had arranged for security to patrol the parking deck on an hourly basis for the protection of any employees who were arriving or leaving from the parking deck.
To get into the hospital from the parking deck, employees used an enclosed walkway that connected to the two buildings. Badge access was needed to open the secure door on the parking deck side which would automatically close after a few minutes.
A couple of women from one of the office areas who had been advised to go home exited the walkway as two nurses and a doctor approached the secured doors.
One of the nurses waved her badge near the reader and the doors slowly opened a moment later. They each exchanged words of encouragement and well wishes during this trying time.
“I’m so glad I parked on this level when I got here; I’d hate to have to go to another level.” One of the women said.
“Me too, I parked as close as I could this morning before all this mess started.”
They both made their ways safely to their cars and exited the parking deck without incident.
At the same time, one of the nurses noticed two figures walking up the street from the back driveway behind the hospital.
“Hey, check that out. What are those two guys doing out there?” she said to her companions.
The other woman, Dr. Fischel looked out as well. “Beats me, I’ll call security as soon as I get to my office and have them check it out.”
“I can’t really see who they are with some of the lights out.” The man with them said, “Probably just a couple interns getting off shift or a late night at the library. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos in Superbowl 48!