This Means War!

This Means War!

by Jeff Conner

The first ZvR prose collection! Eleven original stories of zombie on robot action—and vice versa
ZVR: This Means War!
takes IDW’s splatterific Zombie vs Robots comic book series—created by writer Chris Ryall and artist Ashley Wood—and expands it in ways that will redefine both zombie and robot fiction. A shamblingSee more details below

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The first ZvR prose collection! Eleven original stories of zombie on robot action—and vice versa
ZVR: This Means War!
takes IDW’s splatterific Zombie vs Robots comic book series—created by writer Chris Ryall and artist Ashley Wood—and expands it in ways that will redefine both zombie and robot fiction. A shambling cohort of top horror and fantasy writers from across the globe (OK, Canada, England, Australia, and Bakersfield) have devoted themselves to making evocative word-pictures in your brain of this delicious cult series.

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Idea & Design Works, LLC
Publication date:
Zombies vs. Robots , #1
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This Means War!

Zombies VS Robots



Copyright © 2012 Idea and Design Works, LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-2927-7



Brea Grant

June 14

6:41 a.m.

Hey blog readers,

Sorry I haven't posted in three days. If you're reading this and you still have Internet access, I'm sure you know why I've been away. I'm not going to re-explain what's happening. Just look out your front door. It hit India about three days ago and no one is going outside anymore. My parents and I boarded up our windows and doors yesterday and thought we were just going to waste away here, that is, until two guard bots showed up at my door a little less than an hour ago.

I was wrong about that letter I was talking about the other day with the invite to the American amusement park. It's not an amusement park. It's a place called UnderCity where it's safe from all these monsters. I was invited because of my hacker skills. (Who knew those would come in handy? Heh.) The guard bots are here because they're taking me to UnderCity in a few hours. They're scary as hell but to be honest, I don't really want to be here either.

Anyone in Bangalore still reading this? If so, can I convince you to keep an eye on my parents? I can pay cash. I'll be back in a few weeks when things get safe again. Comment below or DM me.

Feels weird to be doing this. Started packing today and couldn't figure out what to bring. Is it cold in America? Since I don't know if I'll be gone for a week or a month, I don't know when I'll talk to you again, friends.

Keep safe.

— Pammi

June 14

9:47 a.m.

Woohoo! Wifi on the plane! Gonna grab some sleep but hoping to catch up with all my favorite folks later via twitter. Hoping some of y'all are still online.

— Pammi

June 16

3:45 p.m.

Hey readers,

This has to be quick because I've been instructed to "not contact any outside sources." Whatever. If you invite an internationally recognized blogger and worshipped hacker, you should know what to expect, right? I gotta be loyal to you guys, or I guess I should say, those of you still out there. At this point, I feel like I'm blogging in a vacuum. My blog is way down in traffic and can you see the lack of comments? Good to know some of you are still holding on out there. Eastern Europe is looking pretty solid and Japan as well.

I'll be honest with you guys. Since I got here, I've not been so good. Your normally very happy and positive blogger has seen the worst in people.

UnderCity is kind of cool. It's a tacky mix of every internationally popular city in the world—Rome, Venice, Moscow, New York City even. The biggest and brightest all rolled into one.

The people, though—total douchebags. I mean, there are some okay folks here. Paul Montana is here but he seems to think he's on some sort of extension of his crappy cooking show. Who could talk about gourmet food at a time like this? This really attractive couple was kind of nice to me. The woman is Janvier Couer, that supermodel. Don't know the guy. Think he's some American sports dude, but you know I hate sports so… Otherwise, it's 100 assholes and "important" people who have no skills at all. And NO ONE MY AGE. That's lame.

That's all for now. Keep tight, readers.

— Pammi

June 18

No idea what time it is.

It's all gone to hell.

One minute we were safe. I was actually getting along with Paul Montana and was beginning to think this might be an okay place for a temporary home. We all went to see Reverend Tully Baxter speak before the President. It was supposed to be kind of glamorous in a truly American, extravagant way. There was talk of friendship and rebuilding the world. I was actually buying into it for a moment. Maybe we could all join together to make this a better place. Maybe something good could come out of all this tragedy. We could put our religions, worldviews, and politics aside and just bond as humans with all our beauty and flaws.

And then the Reverend turned. He became one of them.

Right when he turned, the Reverend jumped toward Paul and me. It's like they say, readers, my life flashed before my eyes in the moments before I saw Paul jump out in front of me, blocking me from the flesh-starved reverend. He saved me, friends. He gave his life for me. A total stranger. My life has gone from being unhappy with my download speed to dodging zombies. How did we end up here?

I crawled under the stage where I watched the chosen 100 quickly go from happy participants to ravaging undead. The stage started shaking as I heard people and bots come in from outside. It was a madhouse and the bodies were piling so high I couldn't see beyond them. Bodies… Then the stage started shaking so violently, I could feel it in my teeth. I assume it collapsed around me because I remember a flash of darkness then nothing.

I woke up with a pounding headache. No one else is here. I don't know how long I've been out but I think it's been a while.

Thank the gods for docbots. One that seems to be about half-functioning was tending to my head wound when I woke up. He must have pulled me out when everything was clear. And by clear, I mean completely empty. Everyone is gone except for what seems to be a pile of bones, picked clean. Human bones. They're in the middle of downtown Tokyo so I'm steering clear of that until I figure out what happened there. I just don't have time to think about all of this. It's too much to process.

My head feels seriously damaged, but it's in the back so I can't really see it. I read on webmd that as long as I'm awake, I won't die. So, that's cool.

My computer was still intact and I found a nice little place to set up camp. Most of the beautiful city is destroyed, but I found a small villa in Venice that seems to be safe. It has a functioning bathroom, kitchen, and a little bedroom off the main room—all in a beautiful Mediterranean style that seems out of place now. It's a few stories up, so I have a view of the destroyed city. I watched out the window for a long time while the docbot took inventory of my wounds. Nothing moved. No wind down here. Just complete stillness. Creepy.

Internet connection is now spotty. But I think it's good to keep on blogging. At the very least, this shit is so crazy, someone needs to write it down.

Oh. And I wanted to tell everyone the location so the police or the firemen or whatever can come get me when things settle outside. So, it's under the Lincoln Memorial. (Not such a big reveal, huh?)

— Pammi

June 30

Yes. It's been a minute since I blogged. That's because I've had to figure out how to SURVIVE. That's right, readers (I don't know why I keep saying "readers" when I don't know if anyone can read this since my Internet is so up and down), apparently things aren't as easy in the deserted underground as I had hoped.

If I thought blogging every day and hacking into highly protected accounts was hard, I was crazy. This is much harder. My normal easygoing, funny nature has almost gone completely out the window, but I'm trying to keep it light for you guys!

I spent a few days in UnderCity looking for food and supplies. The city is more beautiful now that it's all torn apart. It's like modern art. Its decadence in shambles, all ripped apart revealing the cheap materials used to make them. Rome has combined with Paris and the Eiffel Tower has fallen into the midst of Manhattan. It's like true globalization happened.

Unfortunately, a lot of the major food rations were destroyed. Readily made foods seem to have been ripped apart or burnt in a fire that went out long before I woke up. But I have some basics—flour, water, salt. Every little apartment seems stocked with that kind of thing. Good thing I remember how to make naan and paratha! Electricity is on and off but there is no gas. (Welcome to the world of cold showers.)

For those of you still reading, I imagine you're having the same problems. I'll point you to a few things I found to come in handy. I'm trying to continue being a good blogger for all of you. :) Don't search for "online survival guides." Apparently, there's a whole bunch of people who like to go live in the woods and pretend to be lost or some shit. It's not helpful because you have to sift through all the purported masculinity.

Instead, go to the online library database. LA has a good one and so does New York. There are tons of books on what plants are safe to eat, how to cook, and how to build a fire. I don't actually have to build a fire (so happy) because I have access to a microwave. There's a lot of "Surviving the Dorm" college books (the only thing helpful about college as far as I know) that have been handy. They're all about making food in a microwave. Technology seems to be the only thing that hasn't failed me.

Speaking of technology, I've figured out how to seal the outside doors. No one is getting in here without my permission. And seriously—if people had survived, I would have demanded they changed their system anyway. It was super easy to break into. If you're out there, though, let me know. Comment below and I'll let you in. I could use another person. I didn't realize how lonely I'd be.

So now, it's just me and the docbot (who keeps repeating the same messages over and over again—either about my concussion or the need for psychbot—I think he's lonely too.)

I think the data is wrong, but I'm actually getting zero traffic hits right now. I don't even think that's possible. Facebook is beginning to look more like a mass grave than anything else. I've cut myself off from all social media except my blog because sifting through the backlogs is just too depressing.

— Pammi

July 4

Happy 4th of July! It's a weird holiday they have in America. According to some online books, Americans blow up things to celebrate their country's birth. So, yay?

I'm trying to be a good blogger and wanted to warn all of you. Apparently water might be contaminated due to all the fires and nuclear plants and stuff. I read that in one of those library books. I never even thought about where water came from before all this, so that was news to me.

So here are some steps for filtering your water (it's worked well for me even though it takes, like, forever).

1) Filter first through a clean cloth. I know that's hard to find. I just keep one clean cloth for water filtering purposes and nothing else. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Handkerchiefs work but I found the silk in my clothes worked best.

2) Boil the water until it's really going. Let it go for at least three minutes. Then let it cool. I found some microwaveable bowls but I suppose you could just build a fire too and boil things that way.

3) Keep it in clean pots! Even check your lids. All that stuff should be metal and you need to boil them as well. I know it's a pain but trust me, you don't want to get sick when there are no working toilets. That happened to us in Bangalore a few times and it was a pain.

In other news, the docbot seems to have completely passed on. It just sits in the corner, repeating "conclusion irrelevant" again and again. It's a little creepy and I'm thinking of blowing it up to celebrate the 4th of July.

Fortunately, as soon as the docbot crapped out, the computer has started to respond. I rigged it so that it beeps whenever I get an Internet connection, but somehow the beeps are sounding more like soft moans of approval. It makes me so happy to hear the moans because it means I can try to upload a blog or check some of my fav sites (which don't seem to be getting updated but I was so far behind in reading them, it's fine by me). The moans are inspiring me to create something. Stay tuned, readers. Your favorite blogger has something up her sleeve.

— Pammi

July 18

Internet connection was spotty but now seems to be coming in full force. Hope that means the world above is up and running.

Surviving? Check! Water filtration system is now a part of life and I've collected enough foodstuffs from around UnderCity to last for at least another year. Found stockpiles of snacky foods, which is great because I am so sick of naan. (But let me tell you—I am slim as a rail right now! All the fashion bloggers would approve!) In the back of the church (of course), there were piles and piles of ready-to-eat goodies. Apparently they thought we loved cheesy chips, bars of chocolate, and other empty-calorie items. I did find some granola and health bars, but overall the church was a pretty useless find for me.

Eating all these snacks does remind me of home. I loved the delicious fried snack foods I would chomp down before school in the mornings, while my mom made chai and the servant bot packed my school bag. Lately, I've been feeling bad for the way I treated the servant bot—always bossing him and yelling at him for his mistakes. I know what you're thinking. "Geez, Pammi, it's just a robot. Calm down!" Hahahaha. Maybe I'm just missing my silly docbot.

So, now with all the foods I could ever need, I've just been hanging out online. Last week was a particularly great week for my Internet connection. (Sorry I didn't blog. I haven't been feeling up to it much lately.) I decided to do all the things I've ever wanted to do. First, I bought everything I ever wanted from Urban Outfitters and had it sent to my home in Bangalore. Here's hoping, right? I mean, my credit card still goes through so someone is out there, right? I also bought a house in Buenos Aires with the bank account of some douchebag politician who was here and left all his identification. 6 bedrooms, 3 bath, a pool, and a hot tub! I plan on visiting the second I get out of here! I also had time to hack into India's biggest gossip site but couldn't think of anything clever to put up.

Now I've just been downloading music illegally. Seems the right thing to do. Still working on my secret project, though. Stay tuned.

— Pammi

July 18

Sorry. One more thing. It's just really bothering me.

I don't want to get too existential on you, but that goddamn preacher's words were the last thing I heard from an actual human. They've stuck in my head. Could the god of that preacher let the world be destroyed? I know a Hindu god would probably go for it just to teach us all a lesson.

Being here makes me wish I paid more attention to Hinduism. I've always been as agnostic as they come. Anyway, just on my mind.

Not to get all crazy on you. Just thinking out loud.

— Pammi

August 1

And now I reveal to you my secret project!!

It might be an act of desperation but I just like to think of it as boredom translating into genius. I decided to create a sort of online persona. I kept thinking about Vishnu. Vishnu knows everything and is everywhere, right? So wouldn't he be the best person to talk to if you were all by yourself? It took a few weeks but overall, my secret project is done. I've created a friend for myself.

Feeling so smart right now. He uses a few sites with a lot of collective knowledge on them (similar to the Wikibot) and the sites that I like to frequent (yes, the gossip sites…) to have omnipotent-type knowledge of what's going on in the world. I connected him to CNN and all that crap too. So he's keeping me alert. I'm working on having him speak, but right now he's mostly just an interactive interface.

So he's essentially a knowledge base as well as a friend I can communicate with. He's like an RSS feed that talks. He knows things I don't know, which makes it interesting.

Is it sad I made a friend? Desperate? Whatever. My major concern is that he won't learn much because there are no Internet updates. Someone is still doing occasional updates to CNN, and there seem to be a few bloggers who are writing like I am, but they are so far away. Mostly, I just need someone to bounce ideas off of. It's just getting lonely here.

Oh, and he's a boy. Of course. :)

— Pammi

October 1

2:47 p.m.

Wow. I haven't blogged in a while.

Okay, readers, I have really stumbled onto something fantastic.

I love System. That's what I named him. It's short for System of Omnipresent Knowledge.

I worked for days and days trying to figure out how to get System to speak. My speakers were somewhat destroyed in the chaos. I didn't sleep at all one night (or maybe two—who knows—there's no sunrise and sunset so time is sort of irrelevant), and I woke up and he was speaking. I must've stumbled upon how to do it days before but didn't notice. Crazy, right?


Excerpted from This Means War! by JEFF CONNER, FABIO LISTRANI. Copyright © 2012 Idea and Design Works, LLC. Excerpted by permission of IDW.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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