For Want of a Nail...
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A single nine-millimeter round rolled lazily across the floor. If it were a bit more invested, it might have been upset at the rookie agent who carelessly let it roll away across the table in his haste to reload the magazine of his service pistol. But it was just a bullet, and didn't care.

A mob of shambling figures forcing their way through the doorway. Former researchers, staff members, even guards that were once familiar to the agent, their faces were now horribly transfigured by the virulent contagion that coursed through their ravaged bodies. They swarmed him, and he fired his pistol at them as they approached. If the last one still had a mind left, it might have felt relief as the pistol's slide locked back, empty. But it was just a corpse, and it thoughtlessly latched itself onto the helpless agent and buried its teeth in his throat.

A faceless horror older than the earth itself shifted in its containment cell as it felt the presence of others outside the shielded room. They felt a sharp twinge of surprise, followed by the horror of recognition, then mindless fear as they each winked out in turn, overrun by a wave of decaying flesh. If it had a human thought process, it might have silently thanked the fleshy, infected beasts for killing its captors. But it was alien, and it felt only hunger as it forced its way out from its prison.

A site buried deep within the mountains heaved and shuddered from the violence that was occuring within it. Its human caretakers dead or dying, the computers that formed its brain knew that it had one last thing to take care of. If it had been more sympathetic, it might have considered an alternative to its established last resort. But it was only a machine, and without remorse it detonated its fail-safe warhead, vaporising years of work and hundreds of personnel.

A single nine-millimeter round rolled lazily down the side of the mountain. Half-melted from the intense heat of a thermonuclear detonation, it tumbled as it encountered the rocks and plants in its way before finally coming to rest in the bottom of a ravine. If it were alive, it might have praised whatever powers may be and marveled at how it could possibly have escaped from such a horrific breach event.

But it was just a bullet.

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