Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction (10 page)

BOOK: Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction
2.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

A Little Kidnapping

Alex made his way to the elevator bank, which Dr. Montgomery would have to pass on her way to the cafeteria.  Most personnel were already in the cafeteria area, so there weren't many to see Alex loitering in the hallway.  Most science staff enjoyed eating at the same time, and discussing their day's work in an informal setting.  Dr. Montgomery however, always avoided the large mealtime gatherings.  She always took hers after the rush.  That was fine with Alex, as it made grabbing her that much easier.


The elevator came up several times, but each time, it was a few latecomers from the science labs heading up for dinner.  Eventually though, the doors opened and Dr. Montgomery stepped out.  Unfortunately, this time she wasn't alone.  Two other colleagues were following her, and talking about the latest round of lab results.


As they walked by, Alex acknowledged Judith, but made no attempt to take her.  He hadn't planned for extra company.  Then he turned around and called, "Dr. Montgomery."

Judith turned her head to acknowledge Alex.  "Dr. Montgomery, I was wondering if you might have a few minutes to talk."

She looked at Alex for a second, not sure at first who he was. Then recognition brightened her face.  "You're Alex, right? The one that came in with Christa, and Colonel Sheperd."

"Yes, ma'am, that's me.  I was just wondering if I could ask you a few questions about how she's doing."

Judith and her two colleagues stopped and listened, waiting for what Alex had to say next.

"I, umm, haven't heard anything about her since we came in, and I was just wondering if she was alright.  I was hoping maybe there was a chance I could come down and see her?"


One of the other doctors smugly turned and looked away. Judith said to her colleagues, "Why don't you two go ahead.  I'll join you shortly."  She turned back to Alex as the other doctors headed down the hallway. "It's good to finally meet you, Alex.  I'm sorry we haven't had a chance to talk till now; things have been pretty hectic down below.  I can assure you, Christa is doing just fine.  She's quite the little girl, and it's been wonderful having discovered her."

"Discovered her?" Alex asked, looking up and down the hallway. 

The elevator chimed as it opened up again.  A few more staff came up and started making their way down the hall.

"Yes, discovered.  She's quite a find.  It was incredibly fortunate that you brought her to us.  She's been a huge help with our research."

Alex stalled a little longer. "That's great, Doc, but I'd really like a chance to see her."

"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid that's not possible.  She's not up to visitors, and our research is at a critical stage.  I wouldn't want to risk upsetting her now."  The others made their way past Alex and Judith.

"Upset her?  I don't see how my visiting her would make her upset.  We're quite close; I'm sure she'd be happy to see me."

"You're right, Alex, sorry, just a bad choice of words on my part.  But I'm afraid it's not entirely my decision.  If you can get the general to agree, maybe we could work something out."


Dr. Montgomery turned from Alex and walked towards the cafeteria.  The hallway was empty, and the elevator was silent.  Alex took a few quick steps, grabbed Judith around the throat, and pressed the barrel of a pistol hard into her ribs.

"I'm sorry, Doctor, but that's not good enough.  We're going to have to spend a little more time talking about our mutual friend."


Judith struggled and took a deep breath, but before she could scream, Alex spun her around and slammed her up against a wall.  He rammed the muzzle of the pistol in her mouth.  "I assure you, I'm quite serious about this. If you can't play along, then I have no problem killing you and moving on to one of your colleagues.  We need to talk, and we're going somewhere a little more private."


Alex moved a very quiet Judith down the hall into a storage closet he had already unlocked.  Inside the small space, Alex locked the door and pushed the doctor to the ground. 

"I have no intention of harming you; we just need to be patient until my friend shows up."

A shaken but defiant Judith said, "I don't know what you're thinking, but there's no need for all this cloak and dagger.  I'll answer your questions without guns in my face."

Alex crouched down to her level.  "Well, obviously there is.  Otherwise I wouldn't have done it now, would I?  I'm not the violent type, but you and the general need a little persuasion.  I just want to see Christa and know she's OK."

"You're being foolish.  Your sentimental attachment to that girl is going to land you in more trouble than you know.  She's not even a little girl, she's a damn freak."

Alex pulled back his foot to kick as Judith flinched and leaned away.  He caught himself, turned his back on her and walked away.

"When I saw her two days ago, she was still a little girl.  I don't know what you sick bastards did to her down there, but if you've harmed her in any way there will be repercussions.  There will be justice."

"What the hell did she do to you two out there?  Don't you realize what she is?  She's one of them.  She's one of those things that we're fighting against.  Fighting, and dying and losing."

There were three knocks at the door.  Alex unlocked it, and Chaz came inside.





Going Down


Chaz looked down at a rather nervous-looking Dr. Montgomery, and a somewhat aggravated Alex. 

"Well, you two look like you've been having a good time getting to know each other.  I assume you've made up for lost time and had a nice life chat."

Judith looked up at both of them.  "I don't know exactly what you have in mind, but I can assure you it won't end well.  Have you forgotten where you are?  This is the most secure, impenetrable building on the planet."

Alex smiled smugly. "We're not looking to penetrate your little fort, Dr. Montgomery, we're looking to leave it.  I can assure you those are two totally different things.  And we're taking ..."

Chaz gripped Alex's arm.  "That's enough.  There's no need to gloat, and no need to trouble the doctor with any more stories.  Understand?" He stared directly at Alex, releasing his arm.

"Yes, sir, I understand.  Focus on the plan."


Chaz crouched down and grabbed Judith under the arm and pulled her to her feet.  "As for you, my good doctor, there's no need for your bedside advice.  I'd prefer you just keep quiet, and do what's asked of you.  If you can do that, everyone goes home happy at the end of the day.  As much as I enjoy being a military man and hurting my enemies, I rather think of us as colleagues.  I'm hoping that works for you, Doctor."  Chaz tightened his grip on Judith's arm for emphasis, and motioned for Alex to check the hallway.


Alex peeked down the hallway, and indicated the way was clear. The three of them proceeded down the hallway towards the elevator.   As they watched the elevator lights slowly reach their floor, Chaz spoke. "I must insist, Doctor, that if anyone gets off the elevator when the doors open, you don't say a word.  You don't even give them a glance.  You're going to be totally lost in your thoughts.  I'm letting go of your arm before the door opens, and you're going to walk right on in.  If anything else happens other than what I've just described, there will be a body count.  It may not be your body, but you will be responsible."  Chaz turned and looked at Judith as he finished.  "Any questions?"  Judith remained silent.  "Good, I'm glad." 


As the light for their level lit up, Chaz released his grip on Judith's arm.  It seemed forever till the doors opened.  No one was inside.  Alex commented, "I guess everyone must be enjoying pasta day in the cafeteria."

No one moved towards the elevator.  Alex reached in to hold the doors as Chaz placed a hand on the small of Judith's back and firmly pushed her in.  The doors closed, and Chaz held down the stop button.  He turned to Judith.  "I need to see a little more enthusiasm from you this time, Doctor.  We're heading down to the lower science level.  I'm going to need you to place your finger on the scanner when I press that button.  From what I understand about biometric fingerprint security, a pulse is not required.  Don't make this any more difficult, please."

Chaz released the stop button, and pressed the lower-science-level button.  Judith reluctantly placed her forefinger on the scanner, and the elevator started moving.  "Thank you, Doctor, that was much better," Chaz said.




Lab Time

The elevator opened on the lower science level and the three of them stepped out. 

"Same rules apply down here, Doc," Chaz reminded Judith. "We're going to see Christa, and don't even think about sending us on a wild goose chase.  I know exactly where she is, and how to get there.  You just need to play along."

Judith looked at Chaz, somewhat confused.  "How do you know where the girl is?  No one but my hand-picked team members are allowed here."

Chaz smiled.  "Let's just say the general has a few secrets that even you don't know about."

"The general wouldn't tell you anything about this level.  He knows nothing about this floor."

"I would beg to disagree.  He knows a lot more than he's telling, but you're right, he didn't tell me a thing.  But he has been watching you.  He's been watching you for quite a while."


Alex suddenly looked nervously around and behind. 

Chaz said, "I wouldn't worry, Alex, the security surveillance for this level seems to be having a glitch this evening.  I heard some of their network hardware fried a few circuit boards.  Not sure how that could have happened."  Chaz held both hands palms up in the air, and smirked. 


Alex smiled back, and seemed noticeably relieved.  They continued making their way down several corridors, walking past several labs.  They passed few researchers on this level.  Those they did walk past gave surprised looks to the two military men, but never interrupted them.  Even the science staff seemed to have some respect for authority.  One researcher attempted to stop Judith with questions, but Chaz coaxed him on his way.


Finally, they came to the central lab of the facility.  They could see Christa in her sleeping quarters, resting, with headphones on.  Her back was turned to the two researchers in the outer lab.  Chaz stopped them all before they got any closer, and turned to Judith. 

"Alright, Doc, here's what you're going to do.  We're going to go and talk briefly to the two lab rats.  You're going to ask them for a brief update.  I emphasize brief.  If they start rambling like you science geeks always do, you need to cut them off. Then, I want you to send them away.  I don't care why, I don't care how.  You need to give them something reasonable to do somewhere else."  Chaz turned to Alex.  "Alex, you hang back, but stay within hearing distance.  If the doctor here does anything stupid, or things go wrong, I need you ready."

"Yes, sir, no problem."

"Let's go, Doc."


Chaz and Judith approached the two researchers, who were poring over some notes and checking monitors.  Judith interrupted.  "Mark, I need a report on the subject for the last few hours."


Both researchers turned to Chaz and Judith.  They looked oddly at Chaz and then at Alex behind them.  Mark replied, "Who are these two?"

Speaking sternly, Judith replied, "Don't worry about them, I need to know what's been going on with the girl over the last few hours."

Mark shook his head.  "Alright.  Not too much has changed since you were last here.  She's been mostly resting in her bedroom.  She started watching some teen romance movie again, but didn't finish it.  Her vital stat scans haven't changed.  Her blood pressure went up when she was watching the movie, but nothing unusual."

"OK, that's good.  Things are stabilizing.  I'm going to take over here for a while.  Parker was having problems with results from the latest mutation-factoring tests.  The two of you should head back there and help him out."

Mark and his assistant looked suspiciously back and forth between Judith, Alex, and Chaz.  "Are you sure, Judith?  Parker's usually pretty good with those tests.  I'm sure he'll figure it out."

More firmly, Judith spoke again.  "Just do what I ask … now go."





Mark and his assistant left the lab; Mark looked back over his shoulder at Judith.  Alex kept an eye on both of them down the hallway until they disappeared out of sight. 

Chaz looked to Judith.  "We're taking her out of here, and you're going to help."

"The hell I am, this is insane.  You wanted to see her, so you've seen her.  If you really want her to see you, we can do that, but I don't recommend it.  She's not what you think."  Judith stepped towards Chaz.  "There's no way I can let you take her out of here.  You're putting everyone's lives at risk.  Damn it, you're putting the entire planet at risk!"

"Doctor, I already told you, we're taking her out of here, and I don't need you alive to accomplish that.  You have no control here.  This is my show.  We're taking her."


As they were talking, Christa removed her headphones, got up, and started pacing the room.  For the first time in days, Alex and Chaz got a good look at the little girl who had nearly died in a bus full of exploding zombies. The same girl who had saved them from dying on a bridge full of pigs.  She couldn't see them from behind the one-way glass, but they could see her.  And she had changed.  She was no longer the little girl they remembered.  Her body was still the same size, and she moved like a little girl, but her face looked different.  It looked older.  There were dark rings under her eyes, and the beginnings of crow's feet.  Her skin had lost its youthful elasticity, and her hands looked weathered.  She still looked like Christa, but had the facial appearance of a thirty-year-old.


Alex stepped up and grabbed Dr. Montgomery from behind, turning her around.  "What the hell have you done to her?  It's been two days since we've seen her, and she looks twenty years older.  You're killing her, for Christ's sake!  How can you do that to a little kid, you sick bastards."

Chaz walked closer to the windows to have a look. Judith shook herself loose from Alex's grip.  "I assure you, we've done nothing that wouldn't have happened eventually.  She's mutating.  It's what they do.  We may have sped the process up, but that's all we did.  The sooner she finishes mutating, the sooner we start formulating a solution.  The sooner we can start saving lives."


Alex pushed Judith to the side and walked up to the windows with Chaz.  "These assholes have to pay, Chaz.  Look what they did to her.  It's not right."

"Alex, don't forget why we're here.  We're gonna have our hands full getting all three of us out in one piece.  Don't expect more than that."

"I don't know, Chaz.  I don't know if it's ..."

"It's enough, Alex.  It's enough for now.  Let's get through this.  Alright?  I need you to stay on task."  Chaz stared directly at Alex.

Alex nodded his head yes.  "I'll do it.  For Christa, I'll do it."


Chaz turned to Judith.  "Let her out.  Get her out of that cage."

Judith hesitated.  Chaz didn't.  He walked directly up to her, stuck the muzzle of his gun in her mouth and pulled the safety off. 

"You heard me, right?  You understood, right?" 

Judith's eyes were wide open, and she nodded her head up and down.


Chaz pulled out the gun, and Judith walked to a keyboard.  With shaking hands, she entered an access code and her password.  A few more keystrokes and the door at the center of Christa's quarters clicked open.  Christa reacted by running to the furthest corner of her bedroom from the open door.  She dropped to the floor, pulled her legs in tight, wrapping her arms around them, and buried her head in her knees. 

Chaz looked to Alex.  "You should go in and get her.  She'll feel more comfortable if it's you." 

Alex nodded and walked through the door.


Chaz could see Christa start shaking as soon as she heard Alex's footsteps.  She couldn't yet see who was coming. 

Chaz turned to Judith.  "You better hope I'm in a better mood when we're done with you."

He grabbed her firmly by the arm and kept her close.  Judith didn't say a word.


Chaz turned back to watch Christa.  Alex moved through the living quarters and into Christa's bedroom.  As he got there, she wasn't just shaking, she was crying as well.  Chaz couldn't tell if they were tears of joy, or tears of fear.  Alex walked across the room, and Christa got to her feet.  She wiped her fingers across her eyes to dry her tears.  With crossed arms, she met Alex halfway.  Clouds of confusion shaded her eyes, but only for a moment.  Only till her mind believed what her eyes were seeing.  She opened her arms, and flung them around Alex's neck as he went down on one knee. 


Watching the two of them, Judith shook her head.  "I really don't understand this sentimental attraction you two have for it." Chaz turned to look at Judith, clenched his fist and weakly punched her in the face.

"I've done a lot of horrible shit in my years," Chaz growled, "but never ever have I struck a woman.  Congratulations, you've brought me to a new low."

Judith wiped at the blood dribbling from her nose over her mouth. Holding out her bloody hand for Chaz to see, she said, "This is just a fraction of the blood you're about to spill if you take her out of here." 

Chaz remained silent.


Christa finally released her grip on Alex, and looked directly into his eyes. 

"I thought you were dead.  I was sure of it.  I remember trying to keep them away.  Some of them helped, but the others just kept coming.  I even tried fighting with your knife, but I couldn't stop them all.  And then you disappeared.  I couldn't see you, and they swarmed you.  I don't remember anything else after that.  I thought I was going to die too.  I don't even know how I got here.  And Chaz, is he dead?  Is that tough old bastard finally dead?"

Alex cracked a big smile.  "No, that tough old bastard is still alive.  He's waiting for us.  He didn't want to frighten you with that ugly old face of his."  Alex beamed.  "Are you ready to go?"

Christa just smiled from ear to ear and shook her head adamantly up and down.





BOOK: Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction
2.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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