Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction (2 page)

BOOK: Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction
8.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Secrets

There was a knock at the door, and a sergeant entered the room.  "General, we've got a bit of an issue.  That breach in the outer wall is becoming a problem.  The freaks are throwing everything at it."

 

The general turned on the security monitors to get a better view.  All those that could squeeze through were doing so. They were pounding and banging around the hole with whatever they could find.  Some were using metal fittings they'd ripped off the disabled tank, while others used fence posts and rocks.  A few pounded with their heads and fists while others dug at the bloodstained concrete with their fingernails.  The wall around the breach was covered in bits of blood, flesh, and bone.

 

The general looked to the sergeant.  "Why isn't that breach blocked off by now?"

"Running that rescue mission to the front yard left only one guard on the breach, and he barely kept them out.   Once the rescue was completed, they started swarming the hole.  There were freaks already inside when the full team got there.  It's a constant stream of them, and they've gone completely rabid.  The ones inside are tearing each other to shreds to get to the guards.  I've never seen them act this way."

"Alright.  Sergeant, we're going to need to secure a new inner perimeter.  We'll have to pull back and surrender that section to the freaks.  Get a team working on shoring up the defenses outside that room.  We can't allow them past that room.  Colonel, Doctor, I'm going to have to leave and deal with this."

 

The general left the room, with the sergeant trailing behind.

 

Chaz let out a deep sigh, and scratched his head.  "I don't know, Doc, this is a whole lot of new information to process.  It's great that you think you have a solution, but it sounds like there's still a lot of work to do.  I hope you can pull it off."

"I have no doubt we can accomplish what's ahead of us.  We're good at what we do."

Chaz managed a smile.  "What about Alex?  You haven't said anything about him since the rescue."

"Ahh yes, your other friend.  He's not in great shape.  It's still too early to tell if he'll pull through.  He's sedated, and we're watching him.  I can take you to him if you like."

"Yes, I'd like that, right now if possible."

"Yes, of course." Judith stood up and motioned towards the door. "I suppose you haven't had a proper tour of our facilities."

"Not at all.  I barely know where I am now. You could have me in a submarine at the bottom of the ocean for all I know." Chaz got up to follow the doctor.

Judith smiled.  "I assure you, Colonel, we are miles away from any open water.  Besides, I'm terrified of the water.  You couldn't get me anywhere near it, let alone under it."

 

They exited the room, and proceeded down a long, dimly lit hall with locked steel doors and card readers. Small lights next to each door illuminated numbers: G14, G16, G18 and so on.  Walls and floor were constructed of bare concrete.  It smelled a bit damp.  There was nothing fancy about this place.  At the end of the hallway, they turned a corner and came to a single elevator.  Judith swiped her card at the reader, and the doors opened.

 

"This lower section was not part of the original facility," Judith said, acting the part of impromptu tour guide.

"Yeah, I gathered as much.  So we're underground then?"

"Yes, there are multiple underground levels.  This is the first one below the original fort.  It's primarily used by the military.  It separates us from the fort above.  Us of course meaning the science and research teams below.  I suppose the military level was meant to be a last line of defense between us and them.  Their barracks, weapons rooms, and security rooms are all contained on this level.  The next two levels below us are for science and research.  The one level below all of that is for high-ranking officials and politicians."

"You have politicians here?  Is the president here?  I thought he was in Washington when it was attacked."

Judith shook her head and looked around as they entered the elevator.  "I really don't know.  They have their own private elevator that goes directly up to ground level.  This elevator goes down there as well, but I've never seen any of them use it.  To be honest, I haven't seen any of them for years.  Back when this was the first and only facility around, then yes, there were people down there.  I did, in the early years, see the president in the building.  If there's anyone still down there, they keep to themselves. Once they started building other facilities around the country, some of them moved elsewhere.  They don't talk to or interact with the rest of us at all.  I guess they just figured we were a bunch of military grunts and science geeks.  They had bigger things to worry about."

 

The elevator doors closed as Judith pressed a button on the panel. None of the buttons were marked.  There were six stainless-steel buttons stacked one on top of the other on the panel.  The second lowermost one had a keyhole, and a fingerprint scanner next to it.  Chaz noticed the bottom button was red, but when he asked about it, Judith never answered.

 

"Your friend Alex is on this level," Judith said as the doors opened.

 

Judith led the way down the corridor.  This hallway was vastly different from the military level.  The floors were tiled, and the walls were painted white.  Glass windows along the corridor gave a view of research labs.  Chaz could see the usual assortment of workbenches, test tubes, beakers, computers, and bottles.  Various scientists moved around the labs in white coats and surgical masks.

 

"It seems a lot more open down here than on the level above," Chaz remarked, looking around.

"Yes, we're very different people compared to the military.  They have everything locked down and in the dark, whereas we tend to be more transparent.  That's not to say we don't have our secrets." Judith managed a smile. "We don't let everyone know what goes on in our labs, but certainly amongst our colleagues we're much more open.  Science is founded on a belief in our peers and sharing.  We build on what those before us created, and we're guided by our current peers.  We never work in isolation."

 

Judith led Chaz down a smaller hallway.  It was also painted white, with reinforced safety windows that looked into hospital rooms.  They were all single-bed rooms, and all were empty till they got to the end of the hall.  Through the last window, Chaz could see Alex lying in the bed.  He was hooked up to a number of intravenous feeds and digital monitors.  His face was bruised, and there was swelling around the eyes, but no open wounds.

 

"His vital stats are pretty low at the moment. I don't think he would have lasted much longer out there than he did.  It's a wonder he's still alive."

Chaz rested a palm against the safety-glass window.  "He's a pretty tough kid.  He'll fight to stay alive, that's for sure."

"We're keeping a pretty close eye on him, and doing the best we can.  He did have some open wounds on his legs and arms, but we don't know yet if he was infected.  His bloodwork didn't show anything unusual.  We're still running a few tests.  What we were most worried about was some serious blows he took to the back of the head.  We had him sedated, but we hoped he would be awake by now."

Chaz looked back at Judith.  "Can't you run some brain scans or something?  You must have equipment for analyzing test subjects here, don't you?"

"Yes, we do, but most of the work we do here is research based.  We're not a hospital.  We're geared more towards learning and observing, not healing.  He needs to get to a proper medical hospital at some point.  They'd be better equipped to diagnose and fix any injuries he's sustained.  Like I said, we're doing the best we can with what we have."

Chaz crossed his arms. "This kid brought you a cure that could save the entire world.  You owe him.  We all owe him.  Maybe you should try a little harder."

"I understand what you're saying, but you have to understand we need to put our resources where they can do the most good for the most people.  And right now, that means coming up with a solution for the next mutation.  That's a much bigger priority than one person.  No matter how heroic that person may be."

"I suspect the general might have something to say about that.  Alex is military, after all."

"The general is well aware of the situation down here.  He understands our abilities and our limitations.  We may not always agree, but we both understand the cards we have to play."

 

Chaz shook his head, and pulled on the door handle to Alex's room. It was locked.

"I'm sorry, Colonel, I can't let you in.  He's quarantined at the moment, just in case.  We can't take any chances with our research being contaminated."

"Is that why you've got him down here, isolated at the end of the hall?  What if he wakes up; will there be someone here for him?"

"We're all pretty busy right now.   He's being monitored electronically; if he becomes conscious, one of our staff will be notified. You're welcome to stay here if you like.  Outside in the hall, of course.  There's a storage closet we passed with chairs."

"Fine, let's do that, if that's the best you can do for now." Chaz stared at Judith, who looked away.  "Before that though, I'd like to see Christa."

Judith motioned back towards where they had come.  She opened the door to the storage closet.  "I can't take you to Christa.  She's on the level below, and no one but science personnel are allowed on that level.  It's our most sensitive work.  Not even the general goes down there."

"Hmm," Chaz grunted.  "So much for transparency."

"I never said everyone, Colonel.  We do have some secrets, and sometimes secrets are important.  You’re military, you should understand that."

"Oh yeah, I definitely know about secrets.  I also know how they're used to control people.  Wouldn't want people to know everything you're up to.  Who knows what kind of anarchy you'd have to deal with then?"

"I assure you, Colonel, we're doing what's in the best interest of everyone."

"It's been my experience that people only do what's in the best interest of everyone when it's also in their own best interest.  When those two things don't line up, that's when I get involved.  I know all about secrets and interests."

 

Chaz grabbed a chair from the storage room, and headed back towards Alex's room.

 

"I'll see if I can find you some reading material, to pass the time."

"Great, thanks. Nothing too geeky for me.  I am only a military thug after all."

"We both know you're much more than that, Colonel." Judith forced a smile.  "So, changing the subject, what's next for you after all this?  You must have somewhere to go, or family to get back to."

"You're kidding, right?  I guess the general was the only one to read my file.  It's just me.  There's no family.  Unless of course you count the military as family.  Which I suppose they are these days.  At least, what's left of them.  But to answer your question, Doc, I haven't given much thought to what I'll be doing next.  I still feel like there are a lot of loose ends to work through."

"There's nothing for you to do here now, Colonel.  You could, I suppose, join the general's group.  They're understaffed these days.  It sounded like they could use some help up in the old fort anyways."

"The general hasn't exactly invited me up to join him yet, and I'm not sure he really wants me.  You're pretty busy with your work, Doc; maybe you should just get back to it.  I'll be fine here, keeping an eye on my friend."

 

 

Waiting And Watching

Chaz paced the hallway back and forth in front of Alex's room.  Alex hadn't moved in the few hours that Chaz had been watching, and none of the medical staff had been around to check on him.  Dr. Montgomery had dropped off some reading material.  Nothing that really interested Chaz.  She checked his wounds, and quickly left.

 

Chaz stopped pacing, and stared through Alex's window.  The monitors he was hooked up to hadn't changed much.  The intravenous bags were starting to get low.  Someone would have to come by and top those up at some point.  Chaz looked down the hall, but no one was coming his way.  "Well, buddy," he said, looking back in Alex's direction, "I'm not sure we've improved on things.  Things don't look so good for you right now.  We may not be fighting off freaks and crashing helicopters, but there's something about this that doesn't feel right.  To be honest, I think it kinda stinks.  They've told me quite a bit about their little facility down here, but I'm still damn suspicious.  In my experience, these science geeks aren't usually so chatty.  It's like they're a little too keen to tell me what they're up to." 

Alex remained silent and still.  The monitors kept on beeping. 

"Although, they haven't been totally forthcoming; they still won't let me see Christa.  I know you wouldn't stand for that.  You were like her big brother there for the last little bit.  I know she made me pretty uncomfortable for a while, but someone had to keep their guard up.  Someone had to be suspicious.  Someone had to ask the hard questions.  I couldn't just treat her like some poor little kid in a tough spot.  You did that, and that was good.  It made it easier for me to be tough on her.  That whole good cop, bad cop thing, you know.  Now though, now that you're not here . . . well, I guess you're sort of here.  Just not in the way you should be.  I mean, now I feel like I have to be the one that treats her more like a big brother would.  Maybe not all the time, but at least some of the time."  Chaz resumed his pacing.  He walked the halls for a few more minutes before returning to talk with Alex.

 

"You'd be impressed with Christa now.  Turns out she was more than just a little kid.  Apparently, she's the salvation of the entire human race.  At least, that's what they tell me.  Not sure if I believe them or not.  It sounds all good the way the doctor explained things, but I don't think they're telling the whole story.  But why? It's probably just my suspicious imagination.  Just doesn't seem right to me though, to put that whole saving the world on a little kid.  And who knows what they'll do to her in the process."

Chaz leaned his forehead up against the glass, and slapped his hand on the window. 

"No, no, no!  You know what, you're right, Alex, we can't let things go on this way.  I need a plan to move things forward.  Yeah, a plan.  That's what we're going to do.  I can’t stand sitting here and waiting.  I need to do something.  This place is falling apart anyways.  That tank did a number on the place, and I have a feeling that no matter what they do, those things are coming.  Those damn freaks are going to get past security and find a way down here, even if they have to tunnel through the damn dirt with their bare hands.  They're dying to get in here now.  I'm pretty damn sure it's Patient Zero they're after.  Yep, they've got the original freak down here, buddy.  And those damn monsters know she's here.  I don't know why they want her, but they've been trying to get in here for months.  And now they've got a hole in the outer wall.  One big enough to fit them into, and they're coming."  Chaz made a fist, and this time punched the glass.  The glass never budged.

 

***

 

The general watched the security monitor and shook his head.  There was Chaz, still pounding his fist on the glass.  If Chaz had been a little more focused, he might have seen the security camera hidden in the heating vent behind him.  Not likely though; it was placed far enough back to be hard to see.  It made no sound, and had no blinking telltale on/off light.  Even the science personnel didn't realize they'd been installed.  The ones on the second science level were newer still.  It had been tougher getting them installed down there undetected, but the general was nothing if not persistent.  Frank could hear everything that Chaz was saying.  Chaz didn't have much of a plan at the moment, but the general recognized a problem brewing when he saw it.  He hadn't gotten this far in his military career by being complacent.  He turned to the sergeant.

"Sergeant, you know how you avoid big problems?" 

The sergeant never answered, just shook his head.  The general answered, "You avoid big problems by taking care of the little problems.  Looks like we have an unhappy officer down there.  That's a little problem."

"Yes, sir," the sergeant agreed.  "That is a little problem."

"We should really deal with that.  I think the colonel would like to make some new friends.  Enemies of enemies, so to speak.  I think we could use a little more help with that breach problem on the west wall.  That sounds like something the colonel would be a prime candidate for.  I'm thinking we let him stew a little longer down there.  Let him pace around, and see what else he comes up with.  Then, we'll recruit him to help out with things upstairs.  The fresh air will do him some good.  Once he gets a little reminder of what we're up against, he may feel better.  Maybe that's all it'll take to fix the little problem.  What do you think, Sergeant?"

"I think that's a great idea.  We could definitely use some help upstairs, and I'm sure the colonel would be superb in that capacity."

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK: Mutation: Parables From The Apocalypse - Dystopian Fiction
8.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Settle the Score by Alex Morgan
Invisible Murder (Nina Borg #2) by Lene Kaaberbol, Agnete Friis
Holiday Homecoming by Cheryl Douglas
The Sheik's Secret Bride by Elizabeth Lennox
The Wintering by Joan Williams
Fall Guy by Carol Lea Benjamin
Summerchill by Quentin Bates