The Malton Incident refers to the outbreak and the subsequent military-blockade quarantine that befell the city of Malton on July 3rd, 2005. It was on that day that the residents of Malton awoke to find their fair city had been overrun by hordes of shambling undead who had an unnatural hunger for human flesh.
The exact cause of the disaster has never been officially determined, but most residents of Malton believe the outbreak is connected to the NecroTech corporation. The reason for this belief stems from the fact that in the 6 years prior to the "Malton Incident", NecroTech Industries had aggressively purchased and constructed facilities all across Malton. The nature of these facilities revolved around research into genetics and bacterial pathogens. NecroTech Industries had always publicly maintained that the goal of their research was the fabrication of new cutting-edge pharmaceuticals meant to provide cures to cancers and other highly-infectious or deadly diseases.
The only further information ever associated with the NecroTech agenda in Malton was revealed on May 15th, 2004, when a reporter from the Channel 4 News team investigated rumors of secret pay-offs to local government and high-ranking police officials. The Channel 4 News team uncovered a concealed program under which NecroTech Industries was performing unlicensed drug tests with patients at several hospitals across Malton. When the story broke NecroTech Industries PR were quick to explain that all the test subjects were in fact willing participants. The Malton Police force was brought in to determine the validity of the allegations, but after a week-long investigation they reported that nothing illegal had occurred at any of the hospitals. Suspiciously there were never any follow-up news stories from any of Malton news networks and it was believed the story had been silenced.
The epidemic began in small isolated incidents in various funeral homes, cemeteries, and suburbs before growing to accumulate the entire metropolitan area as well. Within the first two days, the hospitals were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases and injuries reporting in from attacks and bites. What was described as 'civil unrest' quickly grew out of hand as the police and other emergency services scrambled to identify and answer the problem.
In those first few days, the air was filled with the wails of sirens as the situation struggled to be contained. In the initial week of the outbreak the HPA placed the entire city under quarantine in order to prevent the outbreak from spreading beyond the city's borders. Working with local law enforcement, sections of the city, divided by suburb, were created and streets were blockaded to restrict access and slow the spread of the outbreak. The HPA, along with Malton's medical community and science staff from NecroTech Industries, worked together to determine the best method to combat and possibly find a cure to the problem. The dilemma appeared to stem from the fact that an unseen malevolence appeared to be in constant flux, bringing the bodies of the recently diseased back to life. This occurrence, however, was purely confined within the limits of Malton's borders (almost completely within the officially declared boundaries, as scientists came to discover).
Tests on those who had been diagnosed as "clinically dead", indicated that although the rest of the body was merely a decaying cadaver, the brain continued to function. The brain was able to effectively re-take control of the body, but managed to operate on basic instinct only. All attempts to communicate with these victims proved pointless as none could form words, but only had the ability to moan or groan inaudibly. However, it was duly noted that some of the subjects retained partial memories from their past lives, like remembering how to open and close doors. But nothing too substantial. It became clear early on that they also had a penchant for human flesh. The fact that they were hostile towards the living prematurely ended further testing.
As time passed, the situation in Malton grew steadily worse as the HPA's initial attempts to isolate residents from one another proved futile as deceased family members and friends promptly arose and feasted on the living. The violence exhibited by test subjects appeared consistent throughout the city as the creatures actively sought to kill others. This created a domino effect whereby the people they killed began to get up and kill, thereby multiplying their numbers rapidly as the death tolls rose dramatically. Anyone unfortunate enough to suffer from being bitten by one of the creatures managed only to survive for a maximum of two days before succumbing to infection. This was attributed to the sheer number of lethal germs and bacteria that are located within the human mouth. Attempts to kill or destroy the risen proved futile, until it was deduced that the only way to effectively put one down for good was to destroy the brain or sever the head from the rest of the body.
As the police struggled to maintain the blockades against the growing mobs of the undead, rioters began to loot stores and panic stricken residents made various attempts to escape quarantine. It was not long before what little order there was in Malton collapsed under the sheer panic and chaos spreading through its streets. When the military finally arrived in Malton to place the city under martial law all efforts to contain the outbreak appeared to have failed. Fearing the worst, military officials ordered a complete evacuation of Malton, in some cases abandoning their own troops who were fighting those who had risen throughout various suburbs. Once the military had reached the HPA quarantine zone, they began to reinforce it with barbed wire and landmines. Word had been sent down the line, no one was allowed to leave Malton under any circumstances.
Though reluctant at first to use the "the z-word", most Maltonians have now accepted the fact that these 'ghouls' or creatures are in fact the living dead, or in other terms: zombies.