The girl's body had been nearly destroyed by infection, the cause of which was currently walking down one of the main highways in the girl's circulatory system, the Aortic Expressway. The place was deserted; flames and rotting tissue surrounded what had once been a thriving city. If anyone had been there to see the culprit, they would have been quite surprised by her appearance.
She was a virus, but a clear membrane replaced the normally opaque membrane that most bacteria bore, allowing anyone around to view a dark-grey cytoplasm. What had probably once been a defense mechanism to camouflage infecting bacteria of her earlier family among the cells in a body was now completely counteracted by various other mutations. Patches of ashy grey clouded the view through her membrane slightly, a long and rat-like tail swishing lazily behind her, two alien-like antennae sprouted from atop her head, and two ears that seemed a mixture of rat and elf stuck up nearly as high as the antennae. A single, bright eye gazed out at the scene around her, in the correct place had there been another eye to match on the other side. But another eye had never formed, and so she was left with one, off-center, and magenta eye.
"This should be enough to get me to a hospital of some kind." She said to herself, stopping in the middle of her stroll and reviewing her work. A few bright orange pustule-like things bubbled up in her cytoplasm. She reached her long claws into her throat, carefully tearing one out, and waited for the holes to seal themselves before regarding the pustule. She tossed it gently in the air once, catching it and chucking it as hard as she could. When it landed there was a small pop as it burst, covering any nearby tissue in oozing black pus that ate away at whatever tissue it came in contact with. Smiling, Melanie went back on her way.
The Black Death was at work here.
Meanwhile, in another body
"It's all right sir, I think the stiff neck is only being caused by Viral Meningitis. It's the lesser of the two, so I'm going to prescribe bed rest, fluids, and these anti-inflammatory pills. Don't worry about it; it's mostly been just a harmless bug."
A tall virus with a lean body, built much like Melanie's was with a clear membrane-like capsid showing into a light green nucleic acid, gritted his teeth. Digging his claws into the chair of the Memory Record's Room in the man's cerebrum, the virus rewound the recording back a little and replayed it.
"Don't worry about it; it's mostly been just a harmless bug."
The doctor had called him a harmless bug? A slow smile spread across his face.
"If he wants harmless, I'll give 'im harmless." With that, the tentacle-like appendages that hung off of his head like hair coiled sinisterly inward, then shot out like bullets. They stretched as far as they could, embedding themselves deep into the walls of the room and delivering a powerful electric shock. The lights in the entire city of Kevin dimmed and flickered. As they finally went out, save for a few eerie sparks here and there, Delirium grinned.
And Viral Meningitis went to work.
Meanwhile, in another body
"Come on, Bella." A tall virus called over his shoulder, nearly blending into the shadows of the alleyway he stood in. His dark purple capsid matched nearly perfectly, only broken by a red patch covering his face and his long, red claws.
"Coming Ramyx!" A young virus girl with bright yellow capsid called happily, skipping forward in a purple skirt and top that matched her friend's capsid completely. He grabbed her hand and led her calmly across the blood vessel road to an Immunity Station, a nearby lymph node. Ramyx presented a pair of laminated and official looking ID cards to the white blood cell at the door and he let them in, albeit a little reluctantly.
'But why would he trust us,' Ramyx thought to himself, 'We're vaccine viruses, sure, but we're still viruses.' Once inside and past the various checkpoints, Ramyx hung Bella's ID card around her neck on a string, doing the same with his own. He led the smaller virus quickly through the main room of the office, ignoring the glares the white blood cells were giving the two viruses from their cubicles as they passed. Finally, the pair made it to the meeting room where the local Chief of the Immunities sat, waiting to hear their weekly presentation.
"What took you so long?!" the Chief bellowed. Bella shrunk back in fear, but Ramyx put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
"Sorry, Chief." He replied calmly, trying not to show how angry he truly was about this whole thing, "We had to get breakfast on the way here, and there are only a few places that serve viruses. We had to go practically across the city." The Chief mumbled angrily, something that sounded like 'lazy viruses', 'excuses', and 'no-good, troublemakers'. Ramyx just ground his sharp teeth together, and focused on keeping his sharp, spiky cilia from extending in anger.
"Alright, state your findings, Paramyxovirinae." The Chief said, growling the last word with enough venom to kill a rattlesnake. Ramyx stepped forward, ignoring the use of his full name, and handed the Chief some papers.
"There's a small den of Mumps viruses in the East Dock section of the Colon." He stated in a methodical manner, "They plan on going for the Right Parotitus in four days. They also plan on having a small group dispatch to the Throat to cause a sore throat as a distraction. Other then that there has been no word from any other Mumps or Rubella viruses. The Rubula Crime Family is staying quiet, and I haven't heard of any action from the Morbilli Crime Syndicate either." The Chief looked over the papers as Ramyx finished, an awkward silence pervading the room.
"Alright, that's good enough. You can go now, Paramyxovirinae." The Chief said, waving distractedly towards the door to his office. Ramyx nodded silently and led Bella out of the building, silently bristling at every insult thrown their way. Once they were out of view from the building, safely in a dark alley, Ramyx roared loudly. The spikes that lined his head, arms, and back extended in the blink of an eye, then contracted slowly back into his body. Bella watched curiously.
"I can't stand those Immunities!" Ramyx roared, spitting the last word out with as much venom as the Chief had earlier, "They think that just because we're viruses they can treat us so badly? Ha! Without us, they wouldn't have any clue where to go! They'd be lucky if a really dangerous virus was spotted by one of those morons they call officers, seeing as how they're lucky if they can tell their nucleus from their vacuoles."
"Then why don't we do something about them?" Bella said from her position on a fire escape. Ramyx stopped cold, half-way into his rant. Slowly he turned to face the younger virus with a look of astonishment on his face. Then, a slow, wide, and obvious evil smile spread across his face.
"An excellent question, Bell. Why don't we?" He replied, rubbing his clawed hands together, "I think it's time we paid the Brain a visit." Bella leapt up, giggling and clapping in joy. A look of pure happiness spread across her pink freckles face.
"Yay! A trip!" She cried, showing sharp teeth and a mottled red mouth.
"Yeah, a special trip, just for you and me." And the two walked off down the streets towards the very hub of the Central Nervous System.
The work of Mumps and Rubella was just beginning.
Meanwhile, in another – Oh, you get the idea
"Urgh." A virus groaned drunkenly from his booth at the local bar. His bright red nucleic acid tinted dark from his black capsid. Red eyes were no clue as to his level of inebriation, they were always red. However, the splitting headache he had, as well as his inability to currently form a clear sentence were excellent hints. He grumbled something to himself and watched carefully as two Immunity officers walked past the bar, hoping they wouldn't notice him.
When they passed him without a second glance he went back to nursing his drink. What was it? His fifteenth, sixteenth? He had lost count a while ago. Ah well, and Malcolm gulped down the drink and blacked out, drooling all over his tattered clothing.
Hemorrhagic Smallpox's work had never begun.
Meanwhile, outside in the bloodstream of the same body
Three new viruses had been injected by a hungry mosquito, and cautiously made their way towards the seedier parts of town. In this body, however, the seedy parts of town were few and very far between.
"I don't think we can go that way." The tallest of the three said, long antennae twitching. Four dark green arms were folded across his chest while insect-like wings, partially covered by a leather poncho, buzzed in tension. Three shiny, black eyes scanned the area around the trio, their owner on high alert.
"Maybe I could...distract...the Immunities while you two make a dash for it." A very curvy, female virus purred, her black hair-appendages snapping hungrily at the air. Her form shifted slightly, the curves moving even more too all the right places, her cilia collared dress becoming just a bit lower cut, just a bit shorter skirted.
"I don't think that's a good idea, Miss Elisse. We should listen to Swahili." The final member of the trio replied, voice muffled as he adjusting the bandages around his head. This figure was a dark, sickening brown-yellow, his form mostly covered in bandages, minus the pair of ragged pants and the various bits of gold jewelry such as, but not limited to: gauntlets, armbands, a crown-looking thing, a belt, greaves, and a few piercings. Three bright red eyes stared out from a heavily bandaged face that included covering the mouth. A long, barbed tail snaked around in front of him, and two sickly looking antennae wiggled slightly on top of his head.
"We should go that way." Swahili said, one of his four arms pointing down a decrepit alleyway, "I sense other viruses."
"Oh, very well." Elisse sighed, body becoming less curvy as she transformed to her true appearance, "Come along Harus."
"Yes, Miss Elisse." With that they slipped into the shadows of the
West Nile Virus, Lassa Fever, and Dengue Fever have a long way to go for their work.
End Chapter One
Alright, here's some biology notes:
1. A capsid is the outer layer of protein on a virus, since they aren't cells they don't have a phospholipid membrane. Look it up people.
2. The inside of a virus is nucleic acid, not cytoplasm.
3. Black Death is caused by a bacteria called Pasteurella pestis, and bacteria have membranes and cytoplasm
4. I hope you all know what the nucleus of a cell is. That's the big blob in the middle that holds all the DNA.
5. Vacuoles are the parts of an animal cell that contain and remove waste or other things that could harm a cell, as well as maintaining the correct pH. Basically, Ramyx is saying that the Immunities can't tell their head from their ass.
6. Finally, the title for this story comes from the following: Acytota (the sometimes used Domain name for viruses), Virales (the suffix for a virus's Order), Viridae (the suffix usually used for its Family), Virinae (the suffix usually used for its Subfamily), and Virus (the suffix usually used for both Genus and Species)
6. I'm aware that I am a very, very big nerd.