Grunt, Chapter 3: Capriosi Vilify

From the Grenwald Archives, a collection of plastic totes filled with newspaper clippings, magazine clippings, and photocopies of Internet articles found in a residential attic near the remains of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Dates are listed according to the NEW (Near Extinction Worldwide) calendar, shown as either BNEW (Before Near Extinction) or ANEW (After Near Extinction).


by Times science writer Ormand Digby

Last Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control released the results of their latest research on the disease that claimed Italian national and acclaimed mountain climber Lucas Capriosi as its first known victim twenty-three months ago. Commonly known as simply “blackface” due to its extreme discoloration of the skin above the neck, Capriosi vilify has since become the number one health priority worldwide with cases now verified in every nation on the planet despite public denials by China and North Korea.

We all know that. We also know survival rates are miniscule, no more than one for every five thousand people infected. This past month alone, more than seventy-two thousand new cases have been reported. The true figure is unquestionably much higher as the reporting system continues to break down. Entire nations have closed their borders, extreme procedural protocols have been implemented for health care personnel to attempt to contain the outbreak, yet Capriosi continues to claim victims at an exponentially accelerating rate. Until Tuesday, none of us knew why. Now we do. Capriosi shows no symptoms in its human host for more than eleven years after the date of infection. In the meantime, it grows silently, much sneakier than cancer, slipping Ninja style into every cell in the victim’s body before showing up as blackface. For all of that time, for all of those many long years, it is also incredibly infectious and can be transmitted from person to person through the air or even simple skin contact.

The CDC report is dry but terrifying reading. One of the implications of these findings is that everyone on the planet could already be infected.


…Magicicada spp. spend most of their 13- and 17-year lives underground feeding on xylem fluids from the roots of deciduous forest trees in the eastern United States.[3] After 13 or 17 years, mature cicada nymphs emerge in the springtime at any given locality, synchronously and in tremendous numbers….


Bob Duckenweave here as usual, folks, but not for (hacking cough, seven seconds) not for much longer. Like so many of us on this blue ball called Earth, I’ve got the blackface. First spots showed up yesterday, along the left jaw line. I won’t bother you dear listeners with the gory details since then, but suffice it to say the black is moving fast. My mind is still clear enough for this one last Duckenweave Report, then I’m out of here. Good thing I believe in a higher plane of existence after this one, boys and girls, ’cause this one sucks!

My producers wouldn’t like me telling you this, but my producers are either dead or dying or run away from the plague. We haven’t had a caller in more than two months now. I’m not sure how many of you are left out there, how many are still listening, but I have to tell you what I’ve learned through my sources. I wanted to give it a little more time, triple verify a few more details, but time is one thing I don’t have, so here goes.

The Duckenweave team has learned a few things you’re not going to hear from the mainstream media. All those yahoos know is, well, let’s not stray here, shall we? Here goes. Here’s what we know as facts about the Capriosi vilify virus.

Number one: It’s manmade. That’s rights, babies and germs, a team of radical scientists got together and deliberately invented this people killer. (pause, ragged breathing, nine seconds) We don’t know all of the names of those involved, but we do know two of them: Gerald R. Rasmussen, he’s from the United States, and a Romanian by the name of Constantin Funar. (hacking and spitting, four seconds)

Number two: We don’t know why they decided to produce such a devastating biological warfare agent, though both men were members of a group advocating extreme measures to bring down Earth’s population to somewhere between two and three billion. (hacking and spitting, four seconds) We can’t ask them about it now. Funar succumbed to the virus three days ago and Rasmussen was killed in a firefight in Germany yesterday. However, documents were recovered from their formerly secret Black Forest lab that make it clear they were inspired by the seventeen year cicadas. If a horde of cicadas can live underground, undetected for seventeen years while thriving on the juice of tree roots, and then burst forth in tremendous numbers, why could a virus not do the same thing in human hosts? (coughing and gagging, seventeen seconds, then dead air)

by the Tribune staff

It was felt as far away as Idaho but the earthquake’s epicenter was in Iran, in a remote area suspected to be the site of underground nuclear testing. Long a member of the nuclear capable family of nations, the known supporter of state sponsored terrorism may have decided to step up the size of its bomb payloads. In a statement from the Oval Office, U.S. President Harley Bissonette stated, “Our intelligence and science communities are united on this one. Tremors produced by this blast will have ugly consequences. I urge all citizens to follow federal guidelines for earthquake preparedness.”

The President made no mention of the ever increasing Capriosi vilify pandemic or yesterday’s fire bombings of Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

8 thoughts on “Grunt, Chapter 3: Capriosi Vilify

  1. Fascinating backstory fill, and it makes the plot even more interesting since it opens up lots of new questions. For example, does this virus infect the new generations of humans? are babies dying of blackface after birth? I would think an eleven to seventeen year cycle should have affected people in the forts, including our three Looney Tunes brothers, unless survivors transmitted immunity to their offspring… Fascinating but very scary, what with advances in genetic manipulation and other biological fields. This is but one of the huge self-inflicted extinction scenarios the Lifeboat Foundation is worried about.

  2. “Anonymous” or not, Manny, your distinctive voice shines through. Capriosi vilify, being lab produced, could have all sorts of twists and turns we don’t know about yet. If it could be reversed from the usual pattern–virulently infectious prior to symptoms showing up, yet harmless once symptoms do show (though no one other than a scientist is likely able to believe that, no matter what they say)–who knows what other specifics might have been engineered into it?

    Now I need to go look up the Lifeboat Foundation….:D

    Extinction of our species, at least in terms of this single planet called Earth, would seem to be inevitable. We might turn out to be as tough to eradicate as the cockroach, but the galaxy itself has a finite life span.

  3. My “distinctive voice” has actually been life long: people recognize my voice in English and Spanish, and I can’t fool anyone… guess that’s why I never considered being a kidnapper! LOL
    Back to our story line, though, which is definitely on a limited time line, I see two strong alternatives: either a community of scientist survivors has advanced tech and sufficient numbers to initiate a reengineering project for humanity (a problem when the “freed” people decide to destroy you as they chase a free lunch ideal), or he is part of a stronghold/fort that is initiating an empire building process, and trying to gather up lost knowledge and skills while in the process of doing so. 🙂 Of course, what am I, a mere reader of your tales, to know about where your imagination will take us? These musings are merely the way my brain distracts itself while waiting for new chapters about Grunt, or Rodeo Iron, or…. (did you get the hint?) LOL
    Take care, dear friend! A big, yet gentle, hug for PAM!

  4. Ha! Manny, I got the Rodeo Iron hint, all right, but like I told Sha in response to her recent comment…I’m still feeling really stale there. The latest apparent villainess, Kina Mullison (if memory serves), does have potential, but I’m feeling stuck in a Rodeo Iron rut like, oh, say, having to repeat eighty or ninety lifetimes with the same circle of Souls around me and frankly, that’s more boring than stimulating for me.

    And that’s not fair to Treemin and the gang.

    With Grunt, though, things are at least for the moment fresh and vital. I especially enjoy the fact that for the most part, I have no idea what two chapters ahead will be, and can’t wait to find out.

    Will pass on the Pam-hug in the a.m. Things are moving right along Montana-wise. Could be writing oodles of How To (building project) posts even now, but chose to parcel out my limited time between actually “building stuff,” getting vehicles (van type motorhome and small cargo trailer) ready for future Arizona runs, and the Grunt chapters. Am continuing to face enough projects to keep at least three of me busy.

  5. Good chapter, gave a lot of information on where the plague came from. Check the next chapter, no comment box, and some repeated paragraphs.

  6. Hm. The repeated paragraphs and no comment box are a WordPress glitch, not mine. Will see what I can do to rectify. May have to unpublish and republish as another post entirely.

  7. Okay, it’s fixed–I hope. Copied and pasted the text to another page entirely, deleted the duplicated paragraphs, trashed the page that messed up, and at least it looks better. Shows a comment box and all. Let me know if you agree.

    Also gave the chapter a new title: “Decision at Trickle Creek.”

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