What’s worse than waking up in a metal coffin, rebuilt and reanimated, while a dozen other wretches scream beside you in their own resurrection boxes? What’s worse than being undead and marooned on the blood-soaked shores of time, surrounded by malfunctioning murder machines, revenant abominations, and wandering waves of mindless corpses? What’s worse than being a conduit for nanomachines and necromancy, a ghost barely clinging to your own mutable flesh?
What’s worse? Discovering that the whole world is dead too.
Humankind is done. History is ended. Nothing walks the black cinder of Earth but the undead leftovers, reanimated by science so advanced it may as well be magic. Twisted into unimaginable forms by flesh-shaping and machine-grafting, the undead are the only remnant of a civilization reduced to bitter ash and organic slurry. Zombies shuffle through the ruins of nuclear fire and biological warfare and far worse, alongside rusted war-machines still holding the posts of a thousand ancient conflicts, dwarfed by god-engines turned so alien that even the extinct necromancers would have run screaming.
But here and there, things scuttle furtively through the rot and rust, beneath the acid rain and the forever-winter, things that still carry weapons and wear gas masks — though they don’t need to breathe, not really; things that still have minds, things that sometimes stoop to help each other up, to hold hands, to cling together.
Elpida doesn’t know this world, but she’s up on her feet, along with a half-dozen other fresh revenants, ripped from the oblivion of eternity and disgorged shivering and naked on cold metal slabs in a womb-lab of blinking lights and blaring alarms, by machines running some ancient plan to spit them out into a world long dead.
In her own time, Elpida was meant to be a leader. Vat-grown, trained from birth, at the head of a cadre of her own kind. In her own time — failure, death, execution. But somebody must have backed up her memory engram, because now she’s here, copied and rebirthed a million years later, trying to lead something much more fragile and vulnerable.
Her new sisters — for sisters they must be, if they are to remain whole and sane — are not trained for this. Most of them were barely adults in their own times. Some come from eras before nanotechnology, others from before powered flight, one or two from before the wheel. And some of them aren’t right at all, some of them seem to come from elsewhere entirely.
Their reborn bodies are a nightmare miracle of nanotechnology. Stitches and staples work like magic on fresh limbs. Forget antibiotics or the need for an immune system. Death never comes — except at the hungry maw of another post-human revenant.
And they aren’t the only ones awake after the end.
The machines have been waking girls from death for a long time now. Bringing them back, dumping them helpless and lost in this dead world, watching them wither or thrive, for some unknown purpose that human minds can’t dare to grasp.
There’s only so much nanomachinery to go around, only so much one can build from ash and rust, and such a sweet siren song in the potential of turning oneself into a predator on immortal flesh and bone.
But for Elpida, there’s a voice on the wind, in the machinery itself, at the edge of her mind, as if some greater purpose is trying to speak with her. She can barely keep her new companions alive in the face of the mechanical nightmares, post-mortal predators, and the lost girls of this dead world. But the signal in the noise calls her onward. Is she meant for more than this lingering un-death, or is she merely tortured by the memory of her long-lost comrades?
Necroepilogos is a web serial about body horror and alienation, weird zombie-girls gluing themselves back together, mad science beyond mortal ken, and trying to cradle the flower of companionship in twitching, undead fingers.