The ‘season finale’ of Game of Life will line up with the Walking Dead’s final episode next week. Totally on accident I assure you. Things get a bit hot for Jeff and Harriet as they infiltrate the inner sanctum of the Doctor.
The entrance to the central facility lie unguarded, thanks in part to some tampering by Harriet. The scanning equipment used by the guards looked for the infection and used it to confirm friendlies. Jeff realized then, there was a pattern to the biter attacks.
He tapped Harriet on the shoulder raised his finger like a musical conductor and gestured in time with gunshots.
“How did you know?” she said, looking impressed.
“Well after you told me everyone’s infected, I figured it would be a strong possibility the attacks are staged. Also they have no fear of human attacks, because anyone stupid enough to get close would catch the bug.”
“Ok. Now you lost me.”
“It’s airborne. The people here must have some sort of drug in their system. I bet the doctor guy that ordered Chae’s death is looking for a way to improve it. It would be quite the insurance plan.”
“So we have an entire group loyal out of fear, awesome.”
They approached the scanner, an imposing looking red lens set in a steel ball. A cone of crimson light worked across them from head to toe, paused and a pleasant chirp filled the night air. “Welcome Agent Mulder and Agent Scully.”
Harriet and Jeff exchanged an amused smirk.
The steel shutter slid open to reveal a long poorly lit hallway. Warning posters lined the walls filled with cryptic declarations. Curfew time and treatment schedules will be strictly enforced.
Three doors, each a different color, stood before them.
“So do we take the red pill or the blue? The yellow one is obviously a trap,” Harriet said, raising her rifle.
“Well we shouldn’t split up. I say blue.”
“Damn. I wanted red. So if we die, it’s your fault.”
Jeff raised his assault rifle and turned the handle with his free hand. A flash of light hit his face and opened to a well-lit warehouse. Rows and rows of steel pods resembling bathyspheres filled the halls. Trails of slime in front of the entry portal.
“Ten bucks says there’s people in them,” Jeff said.
Harriet scoffed. “No way, too obvious. I’m saying sprinters. He’s definitely more of a breeding horrible monsters type.”
Jeff stepped forward peeked in and frowned. A sleeping woman snored gently inside. A puff of perspiration lingered in the air in front of her mouth. “You owe me ten bucks.”
“Fuck.” Harriet dug into her pocket, handed over the crumpled ten they made habit of passing back and forth.
Jeff took it. Money may have been useless, but it was the principle of the thing.
“So they sleep in creepy pods, Awesome?” Jeff gestured to a computer station. “Think you can set them free?”
“Please. This is me you’re talking about.” Harriet lowered her gun, cracked her knuckles and went to work. “According to this, it may be a bad idea. They’re receiving a treatment.”
“Is it a treatment to turn them into zombies or one to keep them from becoming them?”
“Can’t say. The reports show the infection isn’t lessening, but I find it unlikely. I could let them all out but—”
Jeff put a hand on her arm. “Let out one of them. We’ll see how it goes and make the call from there. Makes sense right?”
Harriet nodded, entered a release code and waved him to a nearby pod.
Acrid green smoke poured from a nearby pod and the hinge door swung upwards. Inside an older man, at least forty, tossed about in a fitful daze. His eyes slid open and settled on Jeff and Harriet.
They kept their weapons lowered, reading his movements and expression. His eyes shot open in a horrible realization. “What are you doing? P—put me back in.”
“We want answers.” Harriet said, narrowing her eyes. “Why are you in the pods?”
“You don’t– oh god, you’re not one of the techs. You’re the intruders.”
“You know about us?”
“Yeah. Everyone does. Please– just put me back in. I need my treatments or—”
“So you know you’re infected?” Jeff said.
The man nodded.
“They’re helping you then?”
“They’re helping everyone. I don’t know much, but I know without our treatments we’d turn.” He leaned back against the pod’s slanted bed. “I’m going to turn if you don’t put me back in.”
Harriet walked back to the panel. “Mind if I confirm it?”
“I think they’re full of shit,” Jeff said. “If she gave you proof they’re just lying to you, we could just as easily let you go free.”
“No. I don’t want to. Sure they’re strict and the food is terrible and—”
“You’re fine with being a lab rat? Did they tell you the government has a cure? We saw it work, on a girl they killed in cold blood.”
“Yes,” Jeff jabbed a thumb in the center of his chest. “Our friend, they shot her in the head because she was infected but under the new treatment. What makes you think they won’t do the same to you?”
“Found it. He’s stable,” Harriet said. “The treatment is nothing but a vaccine. It makes them immune to turning from a bite, but it only buys them time. Have you been bitten?”
“No,” The man said. “Now that I think about it I don’t think anyone has been.”
“Then how the hell are you infected?” Jeff paused to consider. “Oh right. It’s airborne. They use it to take out intruders.”
“Ok. New plan.” Harriet said, typing furiously. “I’ll set everyone to release in an hour. Buddy here will fill in the people. Do you want me to release anyone else so you can explain the—”
The man lunged at Jeff, letting out a guttural snarl and threw him to the floor. The man swung with feral rage, peppering Jeff with heavy punches. His blows made impact with the hastily raised rifle, spraying Jeff with blood.
“What the—?” Harriet abandoned the keyboard and raised her rifle, hesitating. “He’s not a Zombie but—”
Jeff planted a kick in his stomach and slammed him back towards the pod. Harriet charged forward, belting him across the chin and inside. The man didn’t flinch, only the raw force of the strike toppling him did anything. He lunged forward again, prompting Harriet to smash the barrel in the square of his forehead. He slumped back again, giving her enough time to slam the pod shut manually.
“What— the fuck.” Harriet glared at him through the glass. The man smashed his head against the glass desperate to get the door open.
“Sedatives… These people are feral?” Jeff said, wiping away blood from his cheek.
They watched the man bash himself to death against the glass, until his head burst on a final strike.
“Well, shit.” Harriet hurried back to the panel. “I need to stop the—”
“Agent Scully.” The Doctor’s image appeared on the monitor. “You have been a very bad girl. The door to the room has been locked and by your tampering one hundred very calm people will be released. Calm for a time.”
Harriet slammed a fist on the keyboard. “Override. I can’t do anything from here.”
“Time to decide,” the doctor said. “You could kill the innocents released before they turn, assuming you have sufficient ammunition. Or you could turn your weapons on yourselves. The latter would spare many lives.”
“Go to hell,” Jeff said. “We’ll take the third option.”
“And that is?”
“Kick your ass,” Jeff flipped him the bird.
“Sounds great on paper, Jeff,” Harriet said, smiling. “He’s got us though. I can’t unlock the doors with an override in place. I’ll see if I can find a panel or something.”
Jeff nodded, approaching the panel. He stared down the doctor. “Why are you doing this? Why’d you kill Chae?”
“Simple. Progress must be made.” The doctor said, adjusting his glasses. “Humanity must be improved to meet our needs. We thought you smarter than this, and your use beyond a key for the primitive military samples in your vehicle.”
Jeff swallowed. “Our? We?”
“You already know the answer, Jeff. We’ve been watching you two and led you to our little stage. It’s a pity we’ll need a new plaything when you and Harriet are beaten to death.” The monitor clicked off.
The brain. This couldn’t have been a coincidence. The biters, the sprinters. All of it was done on purpose, and one of the guys pulling strings just signed their death ticket.