...Until the end, when she critiqued said technique and bombarded me with things I could improve upon. That hurt, really, really fast, but it felt better in my partner and I could tell that it'd create a stronger, easier lead...if we could actually do it in a dance; when we tried, I failed absolutely miserably, and that's not because of the back. I just sucked.
Ah, well. It's a GOOD thing to have something to think about improving on!
Anyway, on the way home, I thought some more about one of my story ideas. The idea is nothing unique: urban fantasy. Specifically, vampires vs. werewolves...versus zombies. (I'm sure it's been done before, but hey! I'd like to think I added my own twists to it.) A three-way secret war between factions that infect humans and turn them.
I even mapped out some of the details a while ago, though I've slightly tweaked them. Werewolves and vampires have been at war for centuries; zombies are relatively recent to the public scene: outbreaks have existed throughout history, but none were anything more than isolated cases until the 1900s. Even after then, said outbreaks died out and were forgotten. Yet now, within the last 20 years, some zombies have been surviving, gathering their strength, and within the last few years, have become a force to be reckoned with, and now vampires/werewolves are considering them a legitimate threat, equal to their own warring factions.
Humanity as a whole has begun to catch glimpses of the masquerade breaking, yet being humans, they simply find these fantastical creatures hard to believe, mostly writing off said proof. Governments are beginning to take the factions seriously as a potential threat, and corporations are beginning to entertain the idea of research for opportunity.
At their core, each of the three factions holds a different goal. Vampires, requiring human blood, seek to exist in a world where they would not be persecuted if they became fully-public. The majority of vampires--be it thanks to cynicism, greed, or similar--believe that this is only feasible with vampires ruling over humanity, and with causes of break in this peace (e.g. werewolves, zombies, rebellion) to be eliminated.
Werewolves seek a similar basic desire, to be in a world where they won't be persecuted, yet their reasoning is entirely different and their overall ideology is different as a result. Since they lack control of themselves during the full moon, and even without a full moon their impulse control is weaker, they desire a world where inhibitions are removed: everyone acts the way they want to. This free-spirited belief can loosely be called a desire for the more idealistic versions of Anarchy as a governing system: no rules delegating action, with people doing what comes naturally. (I'm not going to bother researching the full, actual ideology of true anarchists. Seems like a lot of work when I can just say that it's "loosely" and people understand that to mean "takes some basic ideas of.) This would allow them to be free and not restrict themselves. Of course, there's more cynical aspects of it. Mainly, that many don't know the difference between Anarchy and Chaos, with some werewolves seeking the latter. There's also the fact that if everyone acted as they felt like acting all the time, werewolves would in a sense become dominant, simply because that's the environment they thrive in and overwhelm competition in.
Zombies essentially seek to unify the whole world as zombies. They seek the assimilation of those they can convert, and the elimination of those they cannot. (E.g. vampires, werewolves.) However, they are not conquerors. To them, this is the natural course of action, because they see it as the path to true harmony. If everyone is a zombie, there would exist no conflict. No wars. No suffering, no misery, nothing bad. It would unify the whole world, because zombies have a bit of a hive mind, so to speak. So as far as they're concerned, they're doing the world a favor. Death would be at a minimum, because it's hard to kill a zombie.
Now, their belief is obviously not perfect, either. Because zombies aren't mindless and some zombies mutate to gain special powers, it's not like they're truly going to equalize all of life. Certain zombies are going to be more important, by simple virtue of being able to more effectively coordinate the takeover of the world. Plus, were they entirely successful in converting humanity, there would be almost no children: having the right zombie father and the right zombie mother might allow for the genetics of sperm that enters into the womb, and is allowed to grow, and has enough life to grow, and produces offspring that maintains the ability to grow, going from infant to adult, yet such cases would be such a rarity that without new zombies, life would in fact stagnate overall. (Their population simply wouldn't be viable. You might get ten or so children born across the globe in a year, but you'd likely lose hundreds of zombies since "hard to kill" is not 'immortal'.) So in a sense, to ensure that zombies continue to exist hundreds or even thousands of years from now, they'd need to keep humans alive, like vampires would.
Anyway, some of the things I worked out on the drive home was the nature of their interaction. Infection is spread through all bodily fluids for all three, particularly saliva. There's a rock-paper-scissors interaction with their infections: someone bitten by a zombie and a werewolf will become a zombie, because the zombie genetics work faster at 'killing' the host than the wolf genes transform them. Someone bitten by a zombie and a vampire will become a vampire, because the vampire gene works in a similar manner to the zombie virus yet is much more resilient and capable of killing competition. However, someone bitten by a werewolf and a vampire will become a werewolf, because of how the vampire virus doesn't cause the decay the zombie virus does, and the decay is what stops the lycanthropy virus from transforming, thus, the werewolf virus is capable of taking control faster.
...Someone bitten by all three will not have their effects cancel out, by the way. If you're bitten by all three, you're doomed to die an agonizing, painful death, in which you'll constantly feel all the negatives of all three, yet none of the positives. Ultimately, the only upside from this death is that it's the only way aside from severe damage to the body that someone can be killed and not become revivable as a zombie.
Note, though, that this only applies to incomplete transformations. A zombie bitten by a vampire won't become a vampire or a vamp-zombie. A vampire bitten by a werewolf won't become a werewolf or a werepyre. A werewolf bitten by a zombie won't become a zombie or a were-zombie. Nor will they suffer any negative/lethal effects. Their bodies simply fight the new infection off.
I'd like to point out that human-creature interactions are therefore impossible, since any human exposed to bodily fluids is going to become what they're exposed to. (That doesn't stop them from becoming couples anyway, though, with the understanding that human-creature will eventually morph into creature-creature.) Yet I'd like to also point out...it's not impossible for creatures of different types to have relationships. In fact, they can produce offspring. These relationships are the rarest of the rare, because all three factions hate each other and have near-mutually-exclusive ideologies, but there is some room for overlap, and said outliers recognize this and can have a fruitful relationship as a result.
As for why they can have children...see above. There's nothing about the nature of the viruses that makes it so that they're lethal to the child hosting them. Keep in mind, all three races are transformed humans; the father and mother are at their core, base level still human beings. (Even if they're born-vampires or born-werewolves, rather than converted, this holds true.) There will be one gene that is dominant over the other, following the pattern, and the child will be born with the traits strongest to the parent with that affiliation. For instance, a zombie-werewolf will produce a child who has a lot of properties of the zombie, yet has some werewolf traits in their genes. A vampire-werewolf will produce a child that is mostly a werewolf, yet has some more vampiric traits. A vampire-zombie will produce a mostly-vampiric child who happens to have some zombie qualities.
Anyway, that was all thought up on the way home.
I didn't bother to go into wolf and vamp abilities in the original writing notes for the story, but I did go into zombies a bit. Simply put, zombies have a single strain, yet it acts in different ways:
-A dead body bitten by a zombie (be it walker or runner) will become a walker. ANY dead body that is fairly-recently-dead will do, which is why some zombies have taken to grave-robbing: they gain fresh recruits that way. Living bitten by zombies, though, typically instead become runners, fast zombies capable of chasing prey. My original notes say this is divided into partial/most intelligence, but I want to revise that--
-Fast zombies have a far stronger hive mentality, as to best coordinate their efforts. They hold only minimal intelligence when they are swarming foes. However, a zombie that is away from other zombies has no choice but to become smart, thus, they maintain the majority of their intelligence, but it's in a bit of an animalistic way unless they're a mutated zombie. (Mind you, mutated zombies are not that uncommon--every runner has the potential to become a mutated zombie if given the appropriate stimulus.) Runners are also where mutated zombies come from, because the genes of a partially-living person are more mutable than those of a revived-undead person.
I haven't quite worked out the logistics for how they survive long-term, though.
-Slow zombies will have a hive mentality when they amass enough numbers to form a swarm, using numbers to overwhelm their foes. Their intelligence is lowered when in this swarm, as to prevent emotions from potentially interfering (for instance, zombies can feel fear of re-death), but they actually are capable of doing more than runners can in a swarm. (Runners swarming can basically only grab. Walkers swarming can climb.) When they are not gathered together in numbers, walkers will have their intelligence be reduced from when they were alive, to varying different degrees. At their best, they're capable of being near-functional human beings. At their worst, they're like a pet. It mainly depends on how recently they were deceased and how smart they were in life. Though there's always exceptions, the general trend is smarter+fresher = smarter zombie. The average intelligence of a walker is lower than that of a runner...but the average humanity of a walker is actually higher. They hold a much better capacity to think like humans, and feel human emotions, all except for pain. (Runners feel more pain than walkers.) In fact, the average walker, when not in a group, is individual enough to function like a mentally-handicapped human being. Not all of them can speak (only about 10% of walkers can), but they can live lives outside of being just a zombie.
Like with runners, I haven't fully worked out the logistics behind them, though.
Soyeah, the setting's obviously not yet fleshed out, but getting this all out and said felt good.