Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Ficlet: Vila of the Dead

For last week's b7friday crossover challenge, my first zombie story, and over twice the length it ought to be, sorry. I don't think you need to have seen the film to understand the story, and besides, the B7 intrusion turned it into an AU.

Vila of the Dead

"Why now?" said Vila, looking around. "If we're spending all this energy going back in time, why pick 2004 in some boring London suburb? Why not a Roman orgy or a nice Pacific Island before they got discovered? One of 'em even had a town named after me."

Avon paused for a moment and visibly decided to let that one go. "Because Orac said that this was a pivotal moment in the formation of the Federation."

"Uhhh..." Vila turned to look at a man shambling across the street towards them with dull, lifeless eyes and unusually pale skin.

"What is it now?"

Vila let out his breath in relief as the bloke veered off towards a house with an open gate. "Nothing. Just a fellow with an arm off. Thought it was Travis for a moment there."

"There seems," Avon said after a while, "to be rather an unusual number of drunks on the streets."

"Um..." Vila gulped. "Look, I've been a bit pie-faced in my time, but I think I'd notice if I had a spike through my chest. D'you believe in zombies, Avon?"


"You should. They eat brains, and let's face it, they'd go for yours first."

Avon considered this and the appearance of those about them. "Perhaps we should quicken our pace. We seem to be attracting some attention."

"Not exactly fast though, are they? We can out-stroll them, no trouble."

"Unless they surround us."

Vila's eyes widened as he saw another group staggering towards them, and he cast about for an escape. "There! The Winchester! Built like a cellblock, that. We can hold out there for a while and get a few in while we're at it." He ran over to the door, where a small group of people who looked more animated than most he'd seen so far were arguing about how to get in. "What's wrong with the front door, then?" he said to the fair-haired bloke with the cricket bat.

"It's locked. We'll have to break a window."

"When I'm here?" Vila said, offended "Besides, it'll only let that lot in. Allow me."

"Thanks, mate," the cricketer said as they locked the door behind them. "I'm Shaun by the way. And this is my girlfriend Liz, my mum, and my friends Ed, David, and Dianne."

"Pleased to meet you. I'm Vila."

"Eh? Support them, do you?"

Vila examined this question; surely he didn't mean the zombies? "Look, I'm just visiting. Oh, and this is Avon," he said casually, getting considerable satisfaction from paying Avon back for similarly desultory introductions. "Were you on the way to a match?"

Shaun blinked, then looked at his bat. "Oh, you mean cricket? Nah, only thing that stops a zombie is bashing their heads in."

"Ah." Vila noticed the stains and decided it was high time to check the bar out.

"So this is why they call this pub the Winchester," Avon said in a voice of deep appreciation. He took a rifle off the wall and ran his hands lovingly over it. "A lovely piece of work. They used these in the old west, you know."

"Oh, hello," Vila said brightly as a man up rose from behind the bar. "I'll have a pint, please." Belatedly he realised that the Winchester's landlord seemed to be deceased. "Um, did you really say 'grr argh'? Bit hackneyed, isn’t it?" He backed away. " Look, don’t mind me, I've got me own, see?" He took out a flask of adrenaline and soma, and opened it.

Avon cocked and fired the rifle, and Vila leaped back as blood spattered all over him.

"You've got red on you," said Shaun's friend Ed.

Vila looked at his flask in horror. "And in this. Ugh!" He emptied the contents into a used glass on the bar and put the flask back in his pocket just as three zombies lurched in.

"I don't suppose anyone bothered to check the back door," David said. Superior-sounding git, should get on well with Avon.

"Well, you could've. Have a peanut, why don't you." Shaun threw him a packet of nuts and swung his bat at the nearest zombie.

"An impressive sweep," said Avon. His face alight with a strange, wild pleasure, he fired at the other two, while Vila ducked to avoid flying bits of zombie. A few landed on the bar (putting him right off having a drink) and plopped into the glass of already-sullied adrenaline and soma.

"I think," said Avon, looking at the crowd outside the windows, "it's time to leave. I'd like a word with Orac."

"But Avon--" Vila blinked as the teleport bay formed around them. "--won't they need that gun?"

"It would hardly make a dent in that mob. Besides..." Avon stroked the barrel lovingly, "it's such a beautiful thing."


"Bloody hell," Shaun said accurately. "Where'd they go?"

"More to the point, they took the gun," said David. "And I feel I ought to point out that your mother... isn't."


"Whack her."

"No! She's my mum!"

"She isn't. Give me the bat." David grabbed it.


They stopped struggling to watch as what had been Shaun's mother moaned and lurched toward the bar. She fumbled at the glass Vila had left there and managed to raise it to her lips without spilling too much. "Oh!" she said, her eyes clearing. "That's much better."


"Who are you?" She gave Shaun an expressionless look. "What do you want?"

"I dunno." Shaun flailed. "For you to go and calm that lot outside down, or something?"

"Very well." She put the glass down, turned, and walked calmly towards the door. Bemused. Liz opened it and let her out.


"All right, Orac," Avon said. "Just why did you send us there?"

"Because history tells that two people appeared during the zombie epidemic of old London and left a glass of green liquid which made the zombies tractable and prevented further decay if taken regularly mixed with blood."

Realising what he'd done, Vila felt sick and looked defensively at Avon, hoping he wouldn’t be too angry. Avon however seemed far too beguiled by his new weapon to care.

Orac continued, "The analysis of the liquid and description of the people who disappeared in a flash of light made it obvious it was you two. I was merely preserving the timeline." The little plastic sod sounded even smugger than usual.

Avon looked up. "Try that again," he drawled, "and I'll drill you."


Six months later (and about a thousand years earlier), Liz and Shaun sat on the couch watching a TV documentary. Unmodified zombies were shown doing routine factory jobs, serving at McDonalds, and making coffee at Starbucks, but it was the ones fitted with PAS (plasma-adrenaline-soma) supplies which were, according to the announcer, about to usher in a new age. These mutoids, as they were called, were the basis for the new UN peacekeeper armies. Obedient, already dead, and as intelligent as they had been alive, they were the perfect cannon fodder.

"You should turn Ed in. He could be a general if he hasn't lost too many bits," said Liz. "And don't think I don't know you've got him chained up in the shed."

Shaun glared. "He's my mate! Besides, I can beat him at Zombie Attack."
Tags: crossovers
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