Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella shares the months and weeks leading up to the "creation" of the Kellis-Amberlee virus and the initial aftermath of the infection. There is a lot of good back-story here, told from the perspective of John Kellis, the man who created the untested Kellis Cure, and Dr Wells, the doctor in charge of the Marburg-Amberlee trials. You also learn more about the Mason family, pre-Georgia & Sean, as well as the bioterrorist group that released the Kellis Cure before it had a chance to go through human testing. This is a very interesting short story, since it really helps show what happened with the CDC and the news stations, and how the world collapsed. This story doesn't make me like the Masons anymore, but I can see where some of the motivation comes from and how their experiences could harden them. Even though this is a short story and a quick read, it still earns 5 stars since it is well written and fills in a lot of the history leading up to the Rising.
NOTE: Review edited and updated with second reading of Countdown on 10/14/2014. My initial review was still a five star review but I picked up more detail on a second read and wanted to expand my initial (short) review.