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Twenty-one years old with only minutes to live.

The girl on the stretcher shakes at the heart of a storm of EMTs racing the gurney, a string of distressed relations running after. Certain death, a flash infection, quickly now to the quarantine room; there'll be more than one life at stake when hell breaks loose.

Halls, corners, a twirl through bleak doors and into a place with one door, no windows, and a bed for dying on. The young woman is lifted onto the plastic mattress. Her eyes are frantic, fixed on something horribly distant, her mouth clenches and gapes, her fingers shake themselves to blurs. Baby, baby, oh my baby. The dad is at her head, big hands clench the steel bedframe like the brink of hell, tears trickle openly into his beard as he struggles to speak to his dying child, a million minutes wouldn't be enough to say what he needs to and the doctor is saying there may be less than ten.

Three rooms distant the chest of the second victim heaves.

The mom is as shaken as the dad; she stands next to her husband, hands moving from her mouth to her eyes to her chest to one another. Three siblings watch big sister sweat and moan, the hands that stoked the campfire this morning are turning purple, the eyes that guided their raft are frosting over, the voice that screamed when fangs pierced her in the weeds is choked by the yellowy fluid that she coughs constantly like a fountain statue, pooling around her head, soaking her long black hair.

Three rooms distant the second victim has stopped breathing.

Syringes are plunged into her flesh, to ease the pain, the doctor says. Can't you do anything, the dad begs. No, the lubii virus has never been contained. Damn it, the mom repeats through clenched teeth, damn it, again and again. Safe to touch her? she croaks. We'll tell you when it's time, they say. Half a dozen hands extend, knuckles brush her cheek, fingers fall on her wrists, press her chest, stroke her hair. The stricken's eyes swivel sideways as through the vague veil of the dying she winces at her family and in that moment it almost kills them, in that moment they'd go with her if they could.

It was all too sudden.

Three rooms away what's left of the second victim… begins to rise.

The doctor warily watches the girl, hair tangled, still dressed in a cherry-red bathing suit and faux-jade ankle bracelet. Years of experience have taught him how not to watch the family. Now, he says softly, and the assistants take shoulders and hands and arms and lead the kids away. The parents' faces are the summation of paternal misery as they beg the doctors and the nurses and the powers for only a minute more, oh good god, she's our child, she's our child. The mom howls like an animal as she's pulled from the bedside, the dad causes a scuffle, he cries out to his eldest one last time, then the doors shut to the sound of silence and the tortured breathing of the young woman.

The doctors encircle the bed of the doomed. One opens a plastic divided container and raises a syringe to the light as one of the known Network's most deadly viruses courses through the veins below him, greedily devouring tissue like brushfire, preparing the body for the final phase of infection, to become a mindless reproduction of the vermin which passed on the symbiotic virus only hours before. More liquid bubbles up her tortured throat and over her teeth, several of which show signs of dropping from her mouth. The tell-tale mark of the finale of the hated lubii curse is coming on fast, the skin which has been lightening is now a thick milky film marbled with dark bloated veins and below the taunt skin of her abdomen dark clotted shapes twist and contort as her organs liquefy into colorless slime. Prepare the injection, he orders the one, and all others keep your distance. The creatures resulting from these cases immediately begin their own hunt for victims, they-

Several doctors enter the room to the turning of eyes. He changed faster than we expected, they say, don't wait any longer, it almost got a snap at Bill. Right. The doctor takes the syringe into his hand. The girl is deathly still, her entire body is distorted and translucent, the seams of the mattress are visible though her arms and legs. The needle sparkles.

Slowly, like the dripping of lava, the mouth gapes open…

…and draws breath. The doctor's hand quivers.


Color is flooding back, the face is elongating, the limbs are pushing off the bed. He shouts to his shocked assistants to get sedatives, get anesthetic, get back. What's happening, some ask, give her the shot, some shout. No! the doctor cries as the amorphous mass heaves from the bed to the floor, no, no, let her be, it's not happening right, don't you recognize what's happening-- it's not over!

Security joins the medics around the edge of the room as the obscene mess at its center kicks like a child in the womb. A limb breaches the mass, a curled talon straining towards electric light before snapping downwards, clawing frantically at the slime which only melts over it again and again until it punches out once more joined by a second limb. Go on, the doctor urges under his breath, go on, go on. The slime is pulling together now, a distinct shape is congealing, four limbs, an animal head, and a long tail lashes along the ground. Where an attractive young woman had been fifteen minutes ago there was now a dozen feet of badly mutated, half-formed former human collapsed on the tiles, forelimbs slipping pathetically at the ground and muzzle still drooling thick liquid.

The gathered remain in the shocked stillness of those witnessing a miracle. The doctor moves forward. He kneels some feet from the monster and looks into large and pearly white eyes. And we'd considered it myth only five years ago, he thinks, and in front of us today we have a second case. Slowly, the new glatni's eyes roll upwards and her head drops gently to the floor. A miracle. Her life will never be the same, she will never be the same, when she wakes up this will be one hell of a shocker, but she will, in fact, wake up.

A miracle.

By now some of the assistants have taken off running. Let me explain to the family, he says, pulling off his gloves as he steps to the door, get in contact with Drs. Velázquez and Destastiel immediately. And Montrey? one ventures. The others pause a moment to listen. The doctors first, he says slowly, looking once more over what he couldn't quite bring himself to call 'the girl' any longer, then the good senator, his own experience will be invaluable. If we here can just get her to her feet again he may in time come to help her find them.

An hour later Joanna Velázquez and Thomas Destastiel were presiding over the soundly-unconscious glatni's care and Senator Cornelius C. Montrey, just hours formerly the only known living person with glatnism, quietly hung up his office phone, staring vaguely ahead for several moments before dismissing his staff and walking out the door, long robes sweeping the marble behind him.    

"Ah, Thomas, hello!"

"Hello, Cornelius."

"To what do I owe your call?"

"There was a lubii attack this morning outside Luck, if you hadn't already heard."

"In Luck? No, I hadn't."

"Yes, two victims, a fisherman and a young student, I am informed."

"Mercy on their souls, then. Never heard of a lubii being reported in Thurmun'dhl, it's such a developed area."

"It is disconcerting, yes. Needless to say the area has been evacuated."

"Caught the damned thing yet?"

"Afraid not. But there is an equally pressing matter at hand, my friend."


"There is… a survivor."

"Good news."

"No, Cornelius. I mean there is a surviving victim. As of some hours ago you became no longer the only member of your species."



"Her name is Nicole Dunn, she is in the room across the hall from myself as I speak, still a somewhat unformed muddle but passing steadily though the unconscious transformative period without a hitch. Dr. Velázquez is with us as well, she says the process has been remarkably similar to what she recalls of her experience with your good self. I of course was not present, but through my work with you I recognize familiar elements in her evolution already, although she does not much seem to resemble the glatnai we've come to know in you."

"There's another…?"

"Cornelius, please."

"Well I just, let me… One-in-a-million, you said!"

"Make that two. If it's of any significance, it did happen near Luck."

"And she… How long ago?"

"Infected about four o' clock this afternoon then ferried down the river- they were boating- before speeding to Draney Hospital, the young lady in terrible fever the entirety. By time they arrived there was little to do but quarantine and euthanize. However, of course."

"And she's still… forming?"

"Yes. Joanna tells me you yourself spent the better part of two days-"

"In a miserable, half-conscious state of delirium-"

"Which is why she's been carefully sedated."

"If they'd only been as generous with me…"

"It has been five years since your own misadventure and technologies have improved, not to mention Dr. Velázquez was wisely hesitant to pump a medically unmapped creature full of what may have been tantamount to poison. Thanks to you, my dear guinea pig, we have a fair knowledge of what the glatni physiology reacts with, and against."

"And no one is more shocked, Tom, that you haven't flat-out killed me by now than I."

"To my point. Cornelius, you know what I'm going to ask of you."

"I do."

"You've always held the opinion that your own mutation was a senseless, iniquitous misfiring of fate. This may finally be the chance to give your past suffering meaning, you may greatly smooth the road for another, provide support and empathy in a way that Joanna and I, and indeed her friends and family, could never do. She may be spared your mistakes, unlike you she will have a guide."



"I'm just, adjusting to the idea still… Good gods. Should I come down?"

"There won't be another train through Payne 'til late and even then it would be witching hour before you got to Draney, so no, I shouldn't think so. Joanna estimates the girl will still be out well into the day after the morrow, even then it should be her family that she wakes to. We will give you notice when we think they are ready for you, we will also pass on your enthusiasm to assist in any way. Penny will still be in Mocoa?"


"Pity, that, she might have been of considerable assistance."

"Don't think I can handle this on my own, do you?"

"I just feel-"

"She's more friendly than me, I know."

"Well, no. You are the big terrible senator from the capitol and high and mighty Aagiean aristocracy, so not unfriendly, just, imposing."

"Can't believe this is happening, Tom."

"I would imagine the sentiment is shared by a number at the moment, not least Miss Dunn herself once she comes to."

"I could sympathize with that."

"Exactly. Well. Since I find the notion of a spare doctor twiddling his thumbs in a busy hospital disgraceful, I'm due to lend my not-inconsiderable surgeon's skill with a patient or three tonight, I must be off. You will be alright?"

"Be a bit selfish to be thinking of my own discomfort first in this case, I'll be fine."

"Alright. Good evening to you, Cornelius."

"Good night, Tom."    
So enough people planted seeds in my head over the past couple years that I finally caved back in October and did this awful thing to a random denizen of my Altalamatox storyverse just to throw another wrench into her and the Montreys’ lives.

I’ve got very little to say about this other than I am so sick of it sitting around on my desktop. Tried a totally alien method of writing this time, pretty sure I will never do something like this again but it was an interesting experiment. Now we will see if Ms. Dunn will prove interesting enough to me in the future that I can keep her afloat as a character...

If you’re new to the glatni gig, go checkCornelius’ ref sheet and the artist's notes might help fill you in.
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artst04 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
I love the story and want to know more!
artst04 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
Did they air lift her?
artst04 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
Sorry skipped a word. * without being overly so
artst04 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
I really liked the writing. Descriptive with being overly so. I'd buy the book if you wrote one. So get off your but and write one. Your writing is amazing and your art is movie worthy.
MBlackwood Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011  Student Filmographer
This made my heart jerk around in my chest. Really wrenching stuff, but all of the awesome. It's heartbreaking to think of ANYbody going through this agony, but the end result . . . a miracle. Simply gorgeous, and very moving. ALL MY LOVE and I hope to see more of this young lady as time goes on. 83
AngeliqueAlene Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011
I do like the new style, it is interesting. But, I suppose it seems a bit selfish to say that even though there is this poor girl here, I think of Cornelius? Very proper, your Cornelius. I like him ;D
V-Babe Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011
Wow, hooked from the first sentence - this was great!

It really made me wonder about Cornelius though; if these things aren't usually seen in 'developed' areas then where in the hell did one gets its fangs into him? I mean, it sounds like his idea of 'roughing it' is when his personal coffee machine breaks and he has to send out for some, and nobody'd be dumb enough to slip a lubii into his office (though more than one probably daydreamed about that kind of thing). So . . . ?
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2011
Very good question! Cornelius has been around for enough years now as a character that I've completely rewritten his origins story about four times aaand, he's due for another major revamp like, now. So I can't promise this will stay canon, but so the story goes there was a small but pesky war going down in a corner of the Network and Cornelius was part of a group visiting the troops on various fronts to demonstrate the government's support and to raise moral. Of course the politicians had excellent guards along with them but the opposing guerrillas had this trick of flushing herds of beasts out of the swamps and through their enemy's camps aaaand... yeah. Somewhere in the resulting chaotic stampede was a nondescript blob of goo and malice that attacked, infected, and 'killed' a number of people ending with, of all people, Cornelius Montrey, before one of the guards killed it in turn. And there you have it.

Good call on the coffee machine thing, he is like that exactly. XD Penny's tried a zillion times to get him to come along on hikes with her, get to know the great outdoors, but he draws the line at parks. Anything more wild and free than a park means mosquitoes, sweat, mud, animal crap, foul water, poisonous bugs, and no cell service. As you could imagine, his run-in with the lubii did nothing for his dislike of the outdoors.

And thank you, glad you enjoyed the story!
V-Babe Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2011
Ack, I thought I replied to this ages ago! Anyway, thank you for sharing the current version; that makes a lot of sense! And lol, can't say that I blame him, I think the great outdoors looks a lot better though a window too. XD
Dyani-Tokala Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2011
If I'm not mistaken Corn' was out with his sister Penny. I think it's mentioned somewhere but I'm not altogether sure where. His ref, maybe? She likes wild life and the ocean so she'd probably take him out into a lesser developed area.
Queen-of-Randomness Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011


This is too awesome!! :D I liked the way you approached the first half of this. I almost felt like I saw/heard two tones to this: the first half was confusion, uncertainty--- and then you get Tom and Cornelius (they're talking to each other without exchanging creative insults, whut??) and how Cornelius takes the news.

It's 10:57am and my comments STILL don't make sense. :XD:
Anywho, this was awesome and I demand :iconmoarplz:!!!
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011

Thank you, Lessa! Urgh, I'm not really a DRAMAAA person but I felt like I should try it, even though it kills me to write more than three paragraphs without trying to work in a joke. Tom and Cornelius' back and forth was intended to lighten the mood at the end, hopefully it did its job? Glad you liiiked eet!
Queen-of-Randomness Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011
Mood lightened at end? Check. :iconcheckmarkplz:

Your dialogue was uber tasty. :iconomplz::iconnomplz::iconnomplz:

Though I must say "Ergh…?" has GOT to be the response of the year. :clap:
Lollymote Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The conversation between Thomas and Cornelius is priceless. I was definitely snickering when I read Cornelius' reaction. xD I can't wait to see how it plays out when he meets her. :D There is a question I have though; does Nicole herself really WANT help from Cornelius? She kinda struck me as an independent sort. Just a thought.
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011
I wish I could insert a sound effect for Cornelius' ergh? noise. I guess ergh is the word you say when there's nothing else you can say and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is too long.

Nicole does have an independent streak but not nearly as much as say Penny, who will go all fangs and claws on you if she even suspects you're trying to mollycoddle her. Nicole likes to make her own way though if someone's willing to give her pointers and a guiding light in a matter she knows they have experience in and she does not, she's quite willing to accept the help. But I think everyone's going to find that there's actually fairly little Cornelius will be able to help her with, their conditions being fairly dissimilar, and a few people are already guessing Nicole might come to help the good senator with his issues more than he might help her. A good question, thank you!
Shralana Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2011
Woooo!! That was awesome! Now I want more -_- Ahhh, I am still waiting for books to be :heart:
SilverGryphon8 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
Wow- and for the record- ouch, poor girl. I'm interested in seeing how this turns out, and I am VERY impressed with my first encounter with your fiction writing!
sweets8 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
Ahhh, nothing like some fresh new writing in the wee hours of the night XP

Let me guess, you wrote what popped into your head and made it up as you went along? Either that or did the whole outline thing and ladeeblablah like that. [ahhh, hated that in English class, they MADE you do an outline! I absolutely abhorred that myself, cause when I write I have this tendency to basically have almost completed the darn thing in one go from the start, so had no need for it really. So then I'd have to go and simplify it down as much as possible just to appease them :shakefish:]
reppy Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
Aww well even if you don't use this method again it was an interesting read. (: I'll come back with questions when my mind isn't blanking, heh!
Morphangel Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, really, didn´t see this She will meet him..Aww..this is great...(ok, now, I´m really into your story! XD)..alright´t stop imagining!
LiWarz Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
I really liked it and it was really interesting! I really do love your characters and reading important events and even excerpts from their lives is always interesting.
Swashbookler Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
OOh, this turned out pur dy good I think. I like the dialogue, and my that virus is icky! All goo and mis-shapeliness. Tiz awesome.
CaptainSeawolf Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011   General Artist
Awesome, crazy at the same time but oh boy does this open up a world of possibilities! Nicely done!
Dadrick Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was an wonderfully told story in all of it's grim and heart wrenching glory. =D

I've got to wonder now though... Are there so few Galatini due to the rarity of that special gene, or are they simply being killed off before the changes are allowed to happen?
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011
Well! Thank you very much, I'm happy you liked it. :)

A very perceptive comment! And they don't know yet as they have been doing mercy killings for all lubii victims. After Cornelius and certainly after Nicole the little corners of Medicine and Science who've concerned themselves with lubii in the past are working to develop new protocol for dealing with victims to include a grace period on the off chance they fail to become lubii. (This is easier said than done as you can imagine, because if they don't then you need professionals on hand to splatter the results before they attack bystanders and/or escape.) But since Nicole makes the second case in a decade there's been a rapidly growing inquiry into the infamously 'deadly' virus.

As omnipotent narrator, I will say that people with an immunity to the virus are rare, but not so rare as previously believed (and don't forget that non-animal victims are rarities in themselves). If they can find a safe way of dealing with victims on the edge of mutation then they would be wise to give more people a chance.
Dadrick Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey, thanks for the reply. =)

It is a head scratcher though, isn't it? I'd say the obvious solution is to have hospitals near these swampy areas set up isolation rooms for such patients. But as you've pointed out, the rarity of attacks on humans make that completely impractical. Maybe there are other options they could explore. Perhaps through heavy sedation? Maybe magic wards of some fashion to quarantine the infected? But who can say what would really prove effective in practice? (Besides you that is. =P )

Oh what fun it is to muse on the works of fiction. I'm definitely hoping to hear more about Nicole, and Cornelius of course. =D
Pineclaw3 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
I'm thinking the same as everyone else.

Awesome and if you wrote a book/made a film/published anything related to Altalamatox I would pay all that fills my meager pockets to get it. Because you write excellently.

Onto sense and story-wise, you kept the tension and characters top-notch, same as with the description. The ambigous sense of timing in the first part went well, and served the emotion of the peice perfectly.
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011
Mygosh... *squirms* You are too kind, really, I appreciate the support and I'm tickled you approve of my writing. I'm very apprehensive about sharing my written stuff on dA, they usually pull relative silences, though it's an art site of course so I'm not at all surprised, just... I put maybe too much stock into feedback I get on my posts. Thank you for taking the time to read my writing and leave your thoughts, it really means a lot to me! <3
Pineclaw3 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2011
NP ^^
Erm, while I've got your attention, could I ask a few galatini/Cornelius questions? Does he get sick like a human would? Like is he struck by the same afflictions (cold/strep throat/swine flu etc) we are? If so, does it affect him in the same way?
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011
Oooh, hey, good one! Alright, so far as I know, kind of. It's a little complicated because the drain of being ill keeps him stuck in galatini shape, yeah? So whatever he's sick with has to be able to live in the galatini body. So in a way his shifting is an added layer of protection as, as many shapeshifters notice, just the act of shifting will kill off some less adaptable bugs, however, other edge of the sword, there's a range of things galatini Cornelius would get sick with that a human would not. I actually believe he's had strep before, it made him one grouchy, raspy giant amphibian thing for a week which he mostly spent underwater as he does when he's feeling nasty.
Flash-of-Brialliance Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
Wonderful! I love it!
Practically had me on the edge of my seat even though I knew what was happening.

Wait Nicole can't change back to a human? You should impose that unfairness on Cornelius too. Haha! Take that senator!
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011
Haha, thank you! :D

Oh my, nononono-- you have no idea how terrified, how scared shitless, Cornelius is that one day he'll lose the ability to take his human form. Sometimes he wakes up in a panic at night and changes just to reassure himself that he can, and at the end of long, stressful weeks when general exhaustion is inhibiting his ability to hold human shape he starts to get paranoid that he's actually losing the ability altogether. Thank god for his partner, Diana, or he'd crash and burn at these times; she's one of the few people he really believes when they say they're blind to his appearance and in turn he becomes so himself when with her. I suspect Nicky will figure out the shifting thing sooner or later but if she never did she'd come to be okay about it. Cornelius... Cornelius is a strong fellow but this is his great weakness.
CeruleanVibe Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
This is absolutely amazing to read.
I can't wait for more!
Sehvrin Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
As always it's very interesting and enjoyable to read the stories that takes place in your world ^^

Is it significant that it happened near Luck?
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011
*Well, if you consider being attacked by a lubii lucky, even if you survived it. XD
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011
Thank you and thank you for taking the time to read them and comment! I do appreciate it. <3

Weeeell, possibly. :3 There's a whole mythology/urban legend surrounding the city of Luck. There's about five stories behind the origins of the town's name way back in its beginnings, all about really crazy and fortunate things happening to people, and since then it's said, both in seriousness and in jest, to be the luckiest place in the Network. People like to get married there and buy lottery tickets and such, and that Nicole's accident took place in the area will only be another thing people will point to in the future when defending the city's luckiness.
qui-non-stultus Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This was incredibly moving to read. I mean, I was caught up, I felt the shock as Corny was told, the.. asdfghjkl. I'm going to read it again. *hug*
divamentalis Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
I was just thinking the same as catnip94 - this should be part of a book! I thought I'd have a quick glance at what you'd written, then couldn't stop reading.

It should be an illustrated book, of course.

An animated film would be good too! ;-)
artsytarts Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011  Student General Artist
Wow, this was insanely exciting!

I have to say, I'm thinking in the same ways as rockerbot. Their first meeting can't end well. There are many memories for Cornelius that are linked to the same thing that happened to Nicky and I could imagine that seeing her would be like re-living them. Or walking through hell, to put it another way.

Anyway, I think your writing is brilliant!
You have that way of pulling a person right into the story. I couldn't stop reading :)
Have you thought of writing a book?
julianwilbury Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011  Student General Artist
This will be INSANELY interesting to watch develop, even if only because I can imagine Cornelius being at least starting off as an awkward, piss-poor guide for the girl. And if this girl takes it as in-stride as the model sheet says she would, frick, it'd probably end her that would help the other more, which may sound a tad trite. (On the other hand, I can imagine Cornelius totally messing up the first meeting, or honestly just precieving himself as to have "messed up" when he maybe was more awkward than anything but still freaking out because I can just imagine him pulling something like that, having an angst fest totally brought along by having the past all brought back to him again in vivid detail, and seeing it happen to "just a child" as well, then someone more stable like Diana or Penny stepping in while he sulks for a bit.)

...My imagination ran off. Sorry. Also the factor of the immediate family being right there will be interesting-- I can't say I recall any of your er, more troubled characters having immediate family around and kicking (well, besides Penny, I guess.) Correct me if I'm wrong. Hrmm...
...I really shouldn't comment at 2AM...
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