Some of us know that it's coming: the day when the dead will walk and feed upon the flesh of the living. Even the CDC has issued a Z-Day advisory, the closest thing yet to an official acknowledgement of the harsh reality of the zombie threat. So for those of us who believe, I wish to start a series of threads on Z-Day plans and preparations. This thread will give an overview of the various known types of zombies, their strengths and weaknesses. While there has been extensive research into zombies by government/military personnel, and most notably by the "Umbrella Corporation", they are somewhat reluctant to share their findings, so most information here will come from historical sources and contemporary documentaries such as Night Of The Living Dead. As there are many such documentaries and I haven't seen them all, please feel free to add/correct any information I post here - after all, lives will depend on it someday! I'll start with the four basic known types of zombies: supernatural, viral, chemical, and "Judgement Day". TYPE 1: Supernatural Overview: supernatural zombies are the oldest, most traditional zombie. A recently deceased person is raised through occult means, to do the bidding of the summoner. Usually occurs as part of a curse, or because of a personal grudge. The good news: Since they are presumably the origin of the term "zombie like" supernatural zombies are most likely slow and somewhat uncoordinated. Additionally, since the raising of a supernatural zombie requires a powerful shaman, some careful preparation and a good deal of mojo, there is seldom more than one. Since they must be individually raised, the bite iis not infectious. The bad news: Supernatural zombies are driven by the will of the shaman, or possibly the soul of the deceased. Thus they need not conform to the physiological rules that limit other zombies. A supernatural zombie may well have superhuman strength, headshots or even decapitation will not necessarily kill them. Dismembered body parts may even continue to attack. The only ways to stop a supernatural zombie are immobilisation (eg hacking off all limbs), magical rites (not usually an option) or total destruction of the body - preferably by fire. Since supernatural zombies are typically raised for a specific purpose or target, they will not wander aimlessly through the street until they get run over by a bus. They will stalk a designated target, often lying in wait. Thus their low-profile makes them harder to spot, and if you are the target you won't likely know until one bursts out of the closet. Ratings: Speed: 2/10 (Typically walking pace) Strength: 10/10 (Superhuman) Resilience: 10/10 (Must be dismembered and destroyed) Infection rate: 0/10 (No known infection) Probability: <1/10 (Unless you disturb an ancient burial site, tread on the toes of a shaman or live/work in an area known for occult practices (like Wall Street) your chances of encountering a supernatural zombie are almost nil.) Overall threat level: Very High. Pound-for-pound, supernatural zombies are the strongest and toughest known type. This, plus their "stalking" behaviour, makes them exceptionally dangerous to the designated target. TYPE 2: Viral Overview: Viral zombies are widely considered to be the most likely of the zombie types to be the bringers of "Z-Day". Infected with a virus that kills, then reanimates the host, they are blood-thirsty, contagious and hard to kill. Usually slow, but some have been observed running at normal human speed. The good news: Usually slow, viral zombies are easy to run from (unless they have you surrounded of course). Since viral zombies rely on the brain/central nervous system of the host for command and control, they can be "killed" (rendered completely motionless at least) by headshots, decapitation, severing the spinal cord or by major head trauma. Thus they are more vulnerable than the supernatural zombie, albeit still hard to kill. The bad news: The worst aspect of the viral zombie is of course the infection rate. The bite is known to be contagious in all cases, with death and resurrection occurring in 6-24 hours. Thus the viral zombies will increase in number, with any victim not eaten alive turning into a zombie themselves. Viral zombies are typically stronger than they were as humans. Ratings: Speed: 2-6/10 (Usually walking pace, but have been observed running at normal human speed.) Strength: 8/10 (Enhanced human) Resilience: 9/10 (Major head/neck trauma required for kill.) Infection rate: 8/10 Any bodily fluid is contagious when introduced to the human bloodstream. Probability: 10/10 (It's only a matter of time people!) Overall threat level: High. Scientific research brings the viral zombie closer to reality each day. It may be that a zombie virus already exists, and it's only a matter of time before it is released on an unsuspecting population. TYPE 2b: "Rage zombies" Overview: "Rage zombies" are those seen in "28 Days Later" and the sequel "28 Weeks Later". Rage zombies also appeared in "I am Legend" - these were significantly smarter than the average zombie, and were observed to set traps and employ dogs to attack a target. They did however suffer from a severe allergy to sunlight, making them easier to avoid. Rage zombies are a viral subset, the infection does not kill, but instead turns the host into a mindless, rage-filled killer. Though not technically zombies because they aren't actually dead, they are included here because their behaviour pattern is the same as other zombies, thus similar tactics and plans are required. The good news: Since rage zombies aren't actually dead, they have the same vulnerabilities as normal humans (although they are insensitive to pain and fear). Rage zombies can be killed by blood loss or denial of oxygen, so stabbing, shooting and even strangulation will be effective. The bad news: The most immediate concern for those faced with a rage zombie is their enhanced speed, with not of the unco-ordination that typifies "dead" zombies. Rage zombies are much faster than the average human thanks to their overworked adrenal glands. This greatly raises their threat level because even a single rage zombie can run you down. Even worse than their speed is their infection rate. The rage virus in "28 Days Later" is transmitted through bodily fluids, but with the added danger that it will enter a new host through any mucous membrane as well as through broken skin. A single drop of blood in the eye of a victim will cause infection, and the incubation period is around 15-30 seconds. Thus the rage zombies will spread much faster than other viral types. Ratings: Speed: 8/10 (Enhanced human) Strength: 8/10 (Enhanced human) Resilience: 7/10 (Tougher than a normal human, but vulnerable to all the same causes of death.) Infection rate: 9/10 (Infection can occur through mucous membranes) Probability: 8/10 (Unlike the "T-virus", the rage virus does not raise the dead, so it's less likely to be researched. Could be a result of military research, but the military seems to have less money than Umbrella Corp.) Overall threat level: Very high. The high speed of the rage zombie makes them exceptionally dangerous. Additionally, the ease of transmission and near-instantaneous infection rate of the rage virus means you or your friends could be infected and "turn" before anyone realises - spelling doom for you all. TYPE 3: Chemical. Overview: Similar to the viral zombie in behaviour and resilience, the chemical zombie is raised through exposure to toxic waste or radiation. This means the "first wave" could be quite large if said waste happens to be spilled/dumped into a graveyard. Interestingly, chemical zombies are the only ones this author can recall having the power of speech. In one of the "Living Dead" movies, (the author apologises for his bad memory here), a zombie is briefly interrogated by humans, saying "Only brains can stop the pain of the living dead!" Another zombie in the same movie (ITARC) says, "I love you! I should be the one to eat your brain!" While they can speak, chemical zombies cannot be reasoned with - they still want to eat you. They may attempt to use their vocal powers to convince an unwitting human to open a door. Chemical zombies were also seen in "The Re-animator". These were tougher than other chemical zombies, with even body parts having a life of their own. The good news: Slow, often necrotic and easy to spot. The bad news: Equal in toughness to the viral zombie, head/neck trauma required. Ratings: Speed: 2-4/10 (usually walking pace, may hustle a little if "fresh") Strength: Variable. Since toxic waste revives, but not restores the dead, chemical zombies appear to be limited by the physical strength provided by remaining muscle tissue. Could be as low as 2/10 (feeble, necrotic) or high as 6/10 (normal human strength compared to size) depending on state of decomposition. Resilience: 9/10 (Head/neck trauma required) Necrotic zombies will break more easily, but still require a "headshot" for the kill. Infection rate: Unknown. Supporting evidence requested. Probability: 5/10 With huge quantities of toxic waste being produced every year, it's possible one batch or another might be capable of raising the dead. Overall threat level: Medium. Chemical zombies are typically necrotic to some degree, because it's easier to dump chemical waste on dead people than live ones. This reduced their strength/speed and endurance because they will continue to decompose. At present, it is presumed transmission would be limited to chemical exposure, so numbers would be relatively low. TYPE 4: Judgement Day Overview: "Judgement Day" zombies are raised from the dead by some unholy force. Oddly though, they seem to follow the same rules as viral and chemical zombies. Since the first wave consists of the already-dead they will be slow and necrotic, but the bite is contagious and "turned" zombies will be faster and tougher. The good news: First wave necrotic and slow. The bad news: Like most zombie types, a headshot is required for the kill. The bite is contagious. Even worse, on Judgement Day, humans who die by any means will return as zombies. This was seen in "NOTLD" when the token black guy holes up in the house, but succumbs to a gunshot wound and is zombiefied by the time Patricia Tallman returns to rescue him. The really bad news: Since "Judgement Day" is presumably a world-wide event, all sufficiently fresh dead will rise. This means very few safe areas, containment impossible. The only viable survival plan is escape to a remote area - don't count on the military to come and save you. Ratings: Speed: 2-6/10 (Depending on freshness.) Strength: 2-6/10 (Depending on freshness.) Resilience: 9/10 (Headshot required.) Infection rate: 8/10 Probability: <1/10 (Even for the religiously inclined, a Judgement Day Zombie Apocalypse seems to be a remote chance.) Overall threat level: High. Contagious, with the added kicker of any dead human returning as a zombie. The above is a first draft, compiled from memory. I would appreciate any corrections/additions, particularly regarding chemical zombies on which I am somewhat hazy.