Field Report, Johanna Ellas:
Commissioned by Dr. Frederich Hausen
Civilian Defensive Control, Z Task Force
January 18, 2021
Introduction: The purpose of our field research and thus this short report on the nature of the person afflicted by “ADZ”, or the airborne variant of Derivative Z was to study the nature and habits of the human who suffers its effects. For brevity’s sake, subjects will be essentialized, and refered to as Z, while those not affected by ADZ are refered to as “people” or “Unaffected”. This task force began its work in Atlanta in the summer of 2020 and observed Z for a period of six months.
Z appears to be every bit like a person, alike in all manners of physical appearance. However, every aspect of the Z is static. There is no evidence of additional hair growth or loss. There is no evidence that fingernails grow either. There is however, a healthier glow about Z previously only seen in those of excellent physical health and adequate nutrition. Skin appears to be the normal color, there is no loss in pigment in skin, eyes, or hair, teeth remain precisely as they were at the outbreak.
Dissection of previously deceased Z reveals all internal organs to be in the correct locations and all of the right appearance. No evidence of putridness, rot or decay indicated. Genetically, Z are no longer human. Upon testing blood at the start of the outbreak, Z cells demonstrated significant genetic alteration and damage. It was hypothesized then that the damage arrested cellular metabolism, and caused Z to enter a state of biological stasis.
One defining characteristic of Z is his lumbering walk, which is not very efficient in its energy transfer, but serves him well to allow him to do what he normally does at all hours of the day. Z spends his days and often nights walking aimlessly. Tracking devices placed on the clothing of Z have demonstrated that Z moves mostly at random, though if unencumbered by obstacle he will continue to walk in a straight line. Furthermore, during the early periods of the outbreak, Z was known to walk several hundreds of miles in a straight line before those tracking him lost contact with the device. We presume the device fell into a lake or was in some other fashion destroyed, but it is just as likely that Z walked completely out of range of the electronic component.
The other defining characteristic is Z’s blank but slightly depressed look on his face, which indicates a complete lack of interest in the world around him.
Z possesses no interest in any benign activity whatsoever. If an uninfected person is walking down a street, and is spotted by Z, Z makes no sign of recognition. Nor does he deviate in his path, unless he comes to an obstacle, at which point, his direction will change, and his vector will carry him to a completely different location. If a person stands in his way, Z will simply alter his course and head in a different direction, seeing the non-infected as one of many obstacles.
Walking is slow paced, almost akin to aimless wandering, and it is nearly constant, though Z appears to sit in a place at random, without regard to his location, and for no apparent reason. At some length he will stand again and continue wandering.
Z appears to be in complete physical health in all respects except psychically. In this realm, he appears to be utterly broken, demonstrating many of the same characteristics of someone who suffers from waking coma. Z’s demeanor can best be described, when he is inert, as dolorous or mournful, and when he is activated as insane, violent, and outrageous.
There is no sign that Z possesses a moral capacity at all, or that he shows and empathy. His assult is ferocious and unrelenting. Though they can be distracted from the attack, if the victim fails to do this, Z will tear the person apart with no sign of remorse or regret. The Z is an absolute sociopath, and has no use for any living person or thing. He is deaf to the cries of his victim, and attempts to defend one’s self simply enrages him more. And after the violent disposal of a person, he continues his walk as if nothing else happened.
There is no sign of tissue or any other physical decomposition, despite the fact that we never witnessed Z eating anything, ever. No one has ever reported seeing Z sleep either.
Not only is Z physically healthy, but he is also strong, and can move extraordinary weights without machines. Z also known to be exceptionally violent, when his rage is inexplicably triggered.
Z prefers to walk during the day, though he walks often at night too. We presume that this means that Z cannot see very well in low light, though attacks against uninfected are also reported at night, perhaps because more of the uninfected use the cover of night for movement or for procuring goods to survive.
Attacks by Z have been reported by people who witnessed others having a verbal or physical altercation. Two or more people were fighting in public, and the commotion was enough to attract a nearby Z who settled the dispute. The Z in this instance killed one, and the other one immediately apologized for the fight. This caused the Z to completely lose interest and wander away.
There seems to be some coincidence between Z attacks and actions necessary for survival. For example, most attacks are reported either when a person is looting and foraging, and Z comes upon him accidentally. A vicious attack will ensue, and if the person fights back, Z will be completely enraged. If a second Z comes upon the altercation he will join in, usually attacking the person, but sometimes attacking the first Z. Several people have been saved from death by other Z’s, especially in occurrences where there are more attackers than defenders.
On the other hand, people have been able to save themselves from death by relinquishing the objects they obtained, which caused the attack in the first place, backing away from the object slowly and deliberately, and apologizing for taking the object. Attempting to reason with Z in this instance, if the goal is to keep the acquired object is fruitless, and at any rate, not sufficient to prevent further attack. However, apology and a show of contrition usually calms Z down to the point where he simply loses interest and wanders away. At that time, the person usually recollects the item or items and leaves the scene. This behavior is completely inexplicable, given Z’s absolute lack of moral and ethical facility.
Those without clear enough head to engage in this ritual, even if it isn’t sincere, are frequently killed.
Often Z is witnessed attempting to move dead bodies out of the streets and out of public view. Caches of corpses, which are otherwise completely undisturbed, have been discovered in houses and buildings. This apprears to be the only deliberate activity engaged in by Z on his own.
Miraculously, Z is capable of speech. Sporadically, reports have been made of hearing Z mumbling to himself. There is never acknowledgement among other Z of any Z speech. But if asked a direct question by a person, Z will respond clearly and intelligibly with an answer, and each answer is completely the truth. Then Z will carry on with his walk. If for instance, Z is asked if it is day out, he will respond “Yes”. If asked how to get to a certain location, Z will give general directions such as “Ahead, left, ahead”. At no time has Z demonstrated any interest in saying more than four words at a time.
Z can also be enlisted in simple projects that require following one or two specific, one part directions. People have reported asking Z if he will help perform some task, and Z will respond “Yes” and proceed to perform the task. If a person issues anything resembling an order to Z, he will immediately be attacked. If the person who asked for help doesn’t participate in the action, he will be immediately attacked. If the person requesting help doesn’t say thank you, there is a strong probably of attack. Several have reported being attacked until they offered the Z money, otherwise completely useless, for their help. The Z did not take the money, but the attack ended.
Once the simple task is finished, Z will continue his walk in whatever direction he was facing the moment he completed the task.
Reports have come in about Z saving lives of people who were in imminent danger, or trapped, or hurt in some way. Once the person is out of imminent danger, they must remember to make an expression of gratitude, or they will be attacked by the Z who just saved their lives.
It is believed that Z can breed, and Z who were pregnant at the time of the infection have been witnessed nursing babies, out of habit. Often, however, most Z babies were given to people to raise by Z mothers, who had no interest in raising their children. Two years into the crisis and Z children, born with the disease have still shown no sign of speaking or playing, but spend their time wandering around the homes of their adoptive parents. There are often reports of Z children being sent out on the street at the age where they can become violent toward those who have adopted them. These children are apparently capable of surviving because they do not want food or sleep, though they have never experienced socialization. As feral children, they often attack with far less provocation, can be more difficult to de-activate, and are commonly killed by their victims due to their diminutive stature. Adult Z who happen to be in the area respond viciously to such killings, and it is likely that a person who kills a juvenile Z will not survive the subsequent encounter.
Z has been reported to be immune to the cold, and none have been reported to have died from exposure. When Z is seen in the cold of winter, he is frequently reported to be steaming. Z has a difficult time walking on ice.
Similarly, Z is also immune to the heat, and prefers the sun, even on the hottest days. In the sun, Z walks a little more upright than normal, moves a little faster than normal, and responds to whatever it is that triggers rage a little more accutely. Because of this, we believe that Z exists off of solar-activated Vitamin D.
There have been no new reported cases of the disease since the worldwide outbreak two years ago, despite almost constant and direct contact with Z. Either the virus has mutated and no longer spreads from Z to people, or the people who are left are for some reason completely immune to the effects of ADZ.
There have been no cases of animals being infected with Z. Domesticated animals, however, have suffered greatly, because their owners either died or have lost interest in caring for them. Ferel dogs and cats now roam the street and pose a constant threat to humanity, but they are also known to attack Z, who frequently kills them.
Z is capable of using tools and even weapons. If a task requires the use of a tool, Z can usually employ the tool proficiently. We assume also that most Z remain proficient in the use of things they used before they became infected. If Z is attacking a person, and that person employs a weapon, but somehow that weapon comes into Z’s possession, he will use it on its former owner, usually with fatal consequences. When Z is finished with the attack, he invariably leaves the tool on the ground and continues his walk.
Lack of interest for the most part prevents Z from utilizing tools independently.
It is unclear whether Z remembers anything for very long, let alone his former life. If a person introduces himself, Z will not respond. If it is clear that Z was a specialist of some sort before infected Z now shows no interest in resuming that activity.
Nor is there any evidence that they remember attacking someone.
We have not determined how Z dies. There have been reports of Z being killed by being chopped into several pieces, but Z is more or less incapacitated rather than killed in these circumstances: the component parts remain not dead.
Z themselves kill by tearing their target apart. If their target is other Z, they will use their hands and will sever limbs from the trunk and eventually crush the skull. They are frequently less destructive with human targets, likely because humans take far less shock to their systems to cause death. Throttle is one of the prefered methods of killing, but disembowlment, eye gouging, massive hemmorage due to dismemberment and compound fractures have also been reported as causes of death for human victims of Z attack.
Based on these reports we assume that Z death occurs when the skull is crushed. Massive brain damage or injury is probably necessary to incapacitate and finally kill Z.
Perhaps the most ominous discovery with regard to Z, if Z is victim of unprovoked attack by a person, the density of Z in a given area increases dramatically. It is almost as if they are drawn to the plight of their fellow sufferer. The same does not hold true the other way: if a person is attacked, this does not in and of itself attract other Z. There have been reports of a Z hunting group attacking a Z in the street or in a trap, and suddenly Z for blocks around change direction and all head to the site of the attack where they set upon those people they find there. We don’t know if this ability is the result of a psychic link or something else, but it does seem to give a purpose to the otherwise aimless walk of the Z.
Based on these few notes on the character of Z, we have issued policy advice to the government in exile, as well as all survivors: It is probably best to avoid all contact with Z. Any large scale attacks planned against Z would be misguided, as they have the ability to both withstand major trauma and to call other Z to the area of the attack. Further, large scale attack, we think would put survivors in the cities at risk of Z reprisal. Finally, humans are outnumbered about 100 to one by Z, and more humans die everyday, while Z numbers remain relatively stable.
Z is an unthinking, unfeeling machine of destruction. Based on our observations, Z has no problem destroying human life, and will do so for unknown and unguessable reasons. Z is deadly, and can be set off without any deliberate provocation. He has no moral soul, and should not be treated as a relative or a loved one, because Z is fundamentally and genetically no longer human. Z is only fit for avoidance until the time when they can be wiped out once and for all.
End of Report.